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Japan Science

Acid Bath Offers Easy Path To Stem Cells 71

ananyo writes "In 2006, Japanese researchers reported a technique for creating cells that have the embryonic ability to turn into almost any cell type in the mammalian body — the now-famous induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. In papers published this week in Nature, another Japanese team says that it has come up with a surprisingly simple method — exposure to stress, including a low pH — that can make cells that are even more malleable than iPS cells, and do it faster and more efficiently. The work so far has focused on mouse white blood cells but the group are now trying to make the method work with cells from adult humans. If they're successful, that would dramatically speed up the process of creating stem cells for potential clinical applications."
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Acid Bath Offers Easy Path To Stem Cells

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  • Embryonic ability (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @10:39AM (#46099649) Homepage Journal

    What a loaded phrase. These are pluripotent adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cell treatments have never panned out; yet we have hundreds of adult stem cell treatments. This is extending the adult stem cell treatment into what people--political people--have theorized embryonic stem cells could be used for, but which has never actually worked out well.

    The term "embryonic" is often crammed into positive stem cell research in any way possible so that people can have a stronger pro-stem-cell argument base to argue for embryonic stem cell research. The term "adult" is often dropped when that's not possible, so we can just say "stem cells". You'll see research that allows us to create cells "like embryonic stem cells" or make cells "behave like embryonic stem cells" to achieve things we've never honestly achieved from embryonic stem cells not because of lack of research, but because they just don't fucking behave--ESS aren't just pluripotent, but they're essentially seeds that are pre-programmed (metaphor) to grow into whole bodies... or tumors.

    If you want to regrow tissue, adult stem cells are the way to go. If you want to regrow a variety of tissue, pluripotent adult stem cells are the way to go (or as close to it as you can get). If you want to regrow organs... that's going to be tough; you need not just pluripotency, but you need to induce the mechanisms executed after embryonic stem cells start to differentiate, but before they become simply pluripotent--you need to not grow a whole body, but grow an arm or a kidney rather than just a sheet of tissue. That's an intermediate state that's going to be hard to trigger from either end.

  • by Guppy ( 12314 ) on Wednesday January 29, 2014 @01:15PM (#46101083)

    Now this is rather interesting. Tumor interiors are often low-pH environments, thanks to poor oxygenation and a reliance on anaerobic metabolism (see: arburg effect).

About the time we think we can make ends meet, somebody moves the ends. -- Herbert Hoover