Now heart and blood cells from mouse skin cells

May 1st, 2008 - 3:21 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 1 (IANS) Cardiac cells grown from mouse skin cells can be re-programmed into cells with the same unlimited properties as embryonic stem cells, according to a promising new study. The discovery could spur clinical trials of new treatments for people who suffer heart attacks or have atherosclerosis, said Robb MacLellan of the Eli and Edythe Broad Centre of Regenerative Medicine and the study’s co-author.

The finding is the first to show that induced (pluripotent) stem cells or iPS cells, by-passing use of embryos or eggs, can be differentiated into the three types of cells needed to repair heart and blood vessels.

Researchers also were able to differentiate iPS cells into several types of blood cells that may aid in treating blood diseases and in bone marrow transplantation.

“I believe iPS cells address many of the shortcomings of human embryonic stem cells and are the future of regenerative medicine,” said MacLellan. “I’m hoping that these scientific findings are the first step towards developing new therapies that I can offer my patients.”

Last June, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) stem cell researchers were among several scientific teams to re-programme mouse skin cells into cells resembling embryonic stem cells, which have the ability to become every cell type. MacLellan and his team used UCLA iPS cells in their study.

Although iPS cells are believed to be very similar to embryonic stem cells, further study needs to be done to confirm their differentiation potential, reports Sciencedaily.

“Theoretically, iPS cells are able to differentiate into 220 different cells types,” said Miodrag Stojkovic, co-editor of Stem Cells. “For the first time, scientists from UCLA were able to induce the differentiation of mouse iPS cells into functional heart cells.”

The study, which brought together stem cell and cardiology researchers at UCLA, appears online Thursday in Stem Cells.

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