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Biotech Idle

Brain Cells Made From Urine 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the potty-mind dept.
Press2ToContinue writes "Scientists have found a relatively straightforward way to persuade the cells discarded in human urine to turn into valuable neurons. The technique, described online in a study in Nature Methods this week (abstract), does not involve embryonic stem cells. These come with serious drawbacks when transplanted, such as the risk of developing tumors. Instead, the method uses ordinary cells present in urine, and transforms them into neural progenitor cells — the precursors of brain cells. Researchers routinely reprogram cultured skin and blood cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, which can go on to form any cell in the body. But urine is a much more accessible source."
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Brain Cells Made From Urine

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  • Re:Piss for brains? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:41AM (#42242019)
    Not to step on the joke, but while your feces do have a lot of your cells in them, they're mostly dead cells which would be useless for induced pluripotency. Furthermore, I've heard it's about one third bacteria, so you'd have contamination problems. Urine, on the other hand, is much more sterile and free from bacteria, and it would presumably be much easier to spin down urine and collect living cells than it would be to separate cells out from feces.

    Most importantly, the reason they were using urine was not to make brain cells from weird places, they had previously discovered that kidney cells took much less time to turn pluripotent than some other cell types, such as skin cells. I'd assume that colon cells wouldn't have this advantage even if you did isolate them living from poop. And I'm not going to test that hypothesis either...

"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite." -- Bertrand Russell, _Sceptical_Essays_, 1928