Saturday, December 01, 2007

Stem cells from skin: a breakthrough

Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University (Japan) and James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin in Madison (U.S.) have announced that their teams have independently found a promising method to transform fibroplasts (generic skin cells) to iPS cells (induced pluripotent stem cells) that were so far only obtained by killing embryos.

Congratulations to both teams. Although, truth to be said, those who have opposed killing embryos, including Christian groups and politicians in different countries, could perhaps take a part of the credit. It is rather likely that the discovery will lead to an expansion of stem cell research in the future. There are already hints that the method could be helpful to cure cancer.

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