Stem cell breakthrough may offer possible cures for diabetes, Parkinson’’s disease

March 2nd, 2009 - 11:46 am ICT by ANI  

London, March 2 (ANI): Scientists have reached a step closer to developing potential treatments for devastating diseases including spinal cord injury, macular degeneration, diabetes and Parkinson’’s disease, thanks to a new method of creating stem cells discovered by researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in Canada.
The researchers say that their study accelerates stem cell technology, and provides a road map for new clinical approaches to regenerative medicine.
“We hope that these stem cells will form the basis for treatment for many diseases and conditions that are currently considered incurable,” Nature magazine quoted Dr. Andras Nagy, Senior Investigator at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, Investigator at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, and Canada Research Chair in Stem Cells and Regeneration, as saying.
“This new method of generating stem cells does not require embryos as starting points and could be used to generate cells from many adult tissues such as a patient’’s own skin cells,” the researcher added.
Dr. Nagy revealed that his method helps create pluripotent stem cellswhich can develop into most other cell typeswithout disrupting healthy genes. The researcher added that the method involves a novel wrapping procedure to deliver specific genes to reprogram cells into stem cells.
Scientists have to date relied upon approaches that requite the use of viruses to deliver the required genes, a method that carries the risk of damaging the DNA.
Given that Dr. Nagy’’s method does not require viruses, it overcomes a major hurdle for the future of safe, personalized stem cell therapies in humans.
“This research is a huge step forward on the path to new stem cell-based therapies and indicates that researchers at the Lunenfeld are at the leading edge of regenerative medicine,” said Dr. Jim Woodgett, Director of Research for the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital.
Regenerative medicine refers to enabling the human body to repair, replace, restore and regenerate its own damaged or diseased cells, tissues and organs. (ANI)

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