An Easier Way to Create Stem Cells?

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embyonic-stem-cell-researchCreating a batch of stem cells may have just gotten a whole lot easier.

A new recipe for creating pluripotent stem cells calls for adding just seven molecules to an existing adult stem cell. The method has been used on mature mouse cells, which were converted into the embryonic-type cells. These pluripotent cells can then be developed into virtually any kind of tissue from this stage.

Traditionally, researchers have created these pluripotent cells with the use of cloning methods, or by adding so-called master genes to turn back the clock on mature cells; effectively returning them to a more youthful state. But these methods are difficult to pull off and are notoriously expensive.

That’s why stem cell specialists and biologists at Beijing’s Peking University began investigating chemicals and compounds, finding a combination of seven that properly mimicked the cell programming effects of master genes.

Introducing the combination to adult mouse cells turned them into pluripotent stem cells. Scientists could then turn these stem cells into lung, brain and muscle tissues. Testing has begun to see if the same combination of chemicals will also work on human cells.

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