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Biotech Medicine Science

Non-Embryonic Stem Cells Developed From Skin Cells 175

Posted by Soulskill
from the won't-somebody-think-of-the-epidermis dept.
juliangamble writes "Scientists reported Thursday they had developed a technique that can quickly create safe alternatives to human embryonic stem cells, a major advance toward developing a less controversial approach for treating a host of medical problems. The researchers published a series of experiments showing they can use laboratory-made versions of naturally occurring biological signals to quickly convert ordinary skin cells into cells that appear virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. Moreover, the same strategy can then coax those cells to morph into specific tissues that would be a perfect match for transplantation into patients."
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Non-Embryonic Stem Cells Developed From Skin Cells

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  • by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Friday October 01, 2010 @03:43PM (#33764004) Homepage Journal
    I thought one of the huge advantages of embryonic stem cells was that, once gathered, they could effectively be reproduced or cloned or something indefinitely without the need to gather more. Is that the case with these new cells? Or am I completely off base in the first place?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2010 @03:43PM (#33764010)

    Either way, as I am no longer an embryo, these advances seem relevant for therapies using stem cells which may be developed by the time I'm old and need them.

  • by sed quid in infernos (1167989) on Friday October 01, 2010 @03:53PM (#33764130)
    This new technique isn't a workaround. It's an important step to fulfilling the ultimate potential of stem cell therapy. Something like this skin-cell technique will be necessary for the creation of truly effective stem cell treatments. Stem cells formed from the patient's own tissue will prevent a host of rejection-related problems. Stem cells from an embryo have a different genotype and thus can cause more rejection issues.
  • by BobMcD (601576) on Friday October 01, 2010 @03:54PM (#33764142)

    Either way, as I am no longer an embryo, these advances seem relevant for therapies using stem cells which may be developed by the time I'm old and need them.

    Yes, this. And it never would have happened without all the uproar/dissent over the embryonic stem cells. People were hoping all along that it would be possible to continue this research without creating a market for human offspring, and it seems steps are being taken in that direction.

    It's a good day for anyone but the pro-abortion crowd. (And yes, I mean pro-abortion vs merely pro-choice, as in the industry profiting by the practice and its allies.)

  • by sed quid in infernos (1167989) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:04PM (#33764276)

    Got a pound of flesh? Like it being ripped out?

    Citation needed. You really think it will take a pound? Even allowing for hyperbole, it seems unlikely anything more than what's needed to remove a mole would be necessary.

    These are not as good as stem cells from embryos.

    Citation needed - as well as a definition of "better." There's no simple binary comparision to be made here. Many factors contribute, such as efficacy, cost, and complication rate. I'm sure there are some things embryonic stem cells will be "better" for, but there are likely many things derived stem cells will be better for. They don't have nearly as many issues with tissue rejection, for starters.

    The funny thing about all the anti-science religious freaks is no matter what solution you come up with, they'll find something to object about it

    Really? Which ones object to this?

  • by jgtg32a (1173373) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:15PM (#33764400)
    Yeah why not, and the best part is they have the same DNA as I do so it would be highly unlikely that my body would reject them.
  • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:25PM (#33764538) Journal

    I'm pro science. I think everyone should be doing nuclear experiments in their basement like the http://www.dangerouslaboratories.org/radscout.html [slashdot.org]"> Nuclear Boy Scout. After all, everyone trying to prevent him from experimenting is just plain anti science.

    Or is it that all science needs boundaries and you just disagree with where that boundary has been set?

    Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they are "anti science". Though throwing the whole "Anti" tag on things seems like common way to be dismissive without actually making any soft of point. Which makes you as bad as the Christian Fundies. Maybe worse, because at least they don't pretend to be logical.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:28PM (#33764568) Homepage Journal

    Unless I'm mistaken (and I could very well be, if I am please correct me) there may be tissue rejection issues with embryonic stem cells, but if it's your own cells that are used, that is no longer a problem.

    One thing I'm not mistaken about -- embryonic stem cells don't come from fetuses. They come from embryos.

    Since it requires that the skin cells themselves be fresh and alive, the patient much undergo some pain while the cells are extracted.

    You've never heard of local anesthetics?

    I'm worried that these policies will become stricter come November when the Tea Party looks likely to make significant inroads in Congress.

    Somehow I doubt they will.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:28PM (#33764570)

    Yes, this. And it never would have happened without all the uproar/dissent over the embryonic stem cells.

    Non sequitur. History shows tons of examples where we developped artificial replacements for natural materials even when no one had any ethical problems with the natural version. They're often cheaper, easier to mass-produce, avoid natural scarcity and are easier to quality-control. I'm pretty sure we would have gotten their, possibly just as soon, even if no-one made a stink about embryonic stem cells.

  • by mdielmann (514750) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:29PM (#33764584) Homepage Journal

    And I would still have an immune reaction to them.
    Face it, all the great things about embryonic stem cells are greatly hampered by the fact that the patient is probably going to have to take anti-rejection drugs. Adult stem cells from the patient won't have this problem.
    Even if embryonic stem cells had been kept at state of the art, we would still have this problem, and this problem has been examined since transplants began.

  • by T Murphy (1054674) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:36PM (#33764690) Journal
    No, the problem of embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells is with ESCs you must destroy a (potential) life, while you can harmlessly remove ASCs from just about anyone. The debate is either "the ends justify the means" or "right to life starts at point X", not a misunderstanding of the terms embryo/zygote.

    (I'm just clarifying where the lines are commonly drawn, I'm not interested in yet another "lets flame at each other and get nowhere" "debate")
  • by bflong (107195) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:46PM (#33764792)

    For those that believe that a human life begins at conception, there is no moral difference between an embryo and a zygote.

  • by Gerzel (240421) <brollyferret AT gmail DOT com> on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:52PM (#33764874) Journal

    Except embryo's are not human offspring and the majority never could be.

    There are far more in cold storage than could ever possibly be brought to term. They are just collections of human genetic material with the potential for growth into human life IF they are implanted into a womb and are successfully brought to term. Even then once born then what? There are already too many orphans in this ever more crowded world.

    If they are human offspring then what of sperm and egg? Where do you draw the line? Because they joined together?

    Humans have rights not because of the genetic codes in our cells but because of our individual experience, potential and the investiture of others.

    They may become people only under the right conditions and for the vast majority those conditions will never come.

  • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday October 01, 2010 @05:07PM (#33765044) Homepage Journal

    No there isn't. But hey a group of uneducated and ignorant people are telling you what to believe. feel fro to take what they say and swallow it with question.

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

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