Human skin cells converted into embryonic stem cells

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The breakthrough marks the first time human stem cells have been produced via nuclear transfer and follows several unsuccessful attempts by research groups worldwide


Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) have successfully reprogrammed human skin cells to become embryonic stem cells capable of transforming into any other cell type in the body. It is believed that stem cell therapies hold the promise of replacing cells damaged through injury or illness. Diseases or conditions that might be treated through stem cell therapy include Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cardiac disease and spinal cord injuries.

The research breakthrough, led byShoukhrat Mitalipov, Ph.D., a senior scientist at ONPRC, follows previous success in transforming monkey skin cells into embryonic stem cells in 2007. This latest research will be published in the journal Cell online May 15 and in print June 6.

The technique used by Drs. Mitalipov,Paula Amato, M.D., and their colleagues in OHSU’s Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, is a variation of a commonly used method called somatic cell nuclear transfer, or SCNT. It involves transplanting the nucleus of one cell, containing an individual’s DNA, into an egg cell that has had its genetic material removed. The unfertilized egg cell then develops and eventually produces stem cells.

Written By: OHSU
continue to source article at ohsu.edu

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  1. And the Faith-heads go mad! Some of the comments on the BBC site just have to be seen to be believed. I just don’t get why, after years of protesting against using embryonic stem cells on the grounds that it’s abortion, we finally discover a way of making them artificially so no actual embryos have to be experimented on and they STILL complain!

    • In reply to #1 by AsylumWarden:

      And the Faith-heads go mad! Some of the comments on the BBC site just have to be seen to be believed. I just don’t get why, after years of protesting against using embryonic stem cells on the grounds that it’s abortion, we finally discover a way of making them artificially so no actual embryos have…

      the point of being a faith head, is you are in a constant state of outrage, looking for a target. anyone who does a job that doesn’t involve having a little pray is by default a target so scientists and doctors will always take the flak on account of not having time to sit doing bugger all with their eyes closed muttering to themselves for a living

    • In reply to #1 by AsylumWarden:

      And the Faith-heads go mad! Some of the comments on the BBC site just have to be seen to be believed. I just don’t get why, after years of protesting against using embryonic stem cells on the grounds that it’s abortion, we finally discover a way of making them artificially so no actual embryos have…

      Christians are like robots, they are programmed to respond negatively to anything that has a buzz word or phrase in it. Things like “evolution”, “stem-cell” or “embryo” for example. No logic or reason is required or employed – they just react in a knee-jerk fashion, no matter what it is. They can’t help themselves from doing it.

  2. I think it’s time to put out a statement to anyone with religious sensibilities, explaining that embryos created this way have not been attained through the “natural” and “proper” method of a man (i.e. born a man with a penis and everything) and a woman (actual woman, not some liberal who think’s it’s ok to have their bits removed) who have, ideally, got married (which as we know has one single meaning as stated on virtually every page of the bible; “bloke and bird, not gay or owt like that”). This means, as any theologan will point out, that no soul has been or even could be inserted.

    theraputic embryos created this way can have a label on the flask with the guarantee:

    This product does not conatain a soul

    solved

  3. Another step in the ongoing evolution of medicine. Everything evolves. This is a double whammy for the faithful: proof that evolution occurs and mention of the dreaded and damned “stem” cells.

    Let’s drop the label “stem” and start calling them “pluripotent” cells and see if these morons can follow this simple slight of hand trick. Pluripotent cells save lives…. has a nice ring to it.

    • In reply to #6 by crookedshoes:

      Another step in the ongoing evolution of medicine. Everything evolves. This is a double whammy for the faithful: proof that evolution occurs and mention of the dreaded and damned “stem” cells.

      Let’s drop the label “stem” and start calling them “pluripotent” cells and see if these morons can follo…

      Even better – just call them “plurips”. Has a nice ring to it, kinda like “tulip”. And not reminiscent of “omnipotent”.

  4. Technically, it is no breakthrough at all. Such technique has been there for decades. As long as you have the money and are allowed to use human materials, you can make it without problem. The ethical hurdle is still ahead. The eggs have to be allowed to develop into blastocysts before collecting stem cells. Keep in mind, the eggs can potentially develop into persons as regular fertilized eggs do. So, you still can not go around the ethical issue.

  5. @ crookedshoes (#6):
    “Let’s drop the label ‘stem’ and start calling them ‘pluripotent’ cells and see if these morons can follow this simple slight of hand trick. Pluripotent cells save lives…. has a nice ring to it.”

    I dunno… “pluripotent” sounds a lot like “omnipotent”… Scientists trying to be gods again? ;-)

    Steve

    • We could use “totipotent” as well. If I remember correctly, this is what they were called in much of the early literature. If it is the “potent” part of the word that hangs us up, let’s say “toti cells”… It even sounds cute.

      Tgarrett, One of my closest family members is also battling MS. I second your attitude and sincerely hope that the breakthrough comes sooner rather than later. Peace.
      crooked

      In reply to #9 by Agrajag:

      @ crookedshoes (#6):
      “Let’s drop the label ‘stem’ and start calling them ‘pluripotent’ cells and see if these morons can follow this simple slight of hand trick. Pluripotent cells save lives…. has a nice ring to it.”

      I dunno… “pluripotent” sounds a lot like “omnipotent”… Scientists trying to…

  6. It makes me angry that when news of scientific advances such as the one above, is published on this site its followed by comments such as the ones below. Although i agree with them, it takes away from the actual news of the breakthrough, so rather than comments about stem cell research and its incredible potential, its sadly and understandably comments related to those who are opposed to stem cell research.

    • In reply to #10 by Dublin-atheist:

      It makes me angry that when news of scientific advances such as the one above, is published on this site its followed by comments such as the ones below. Although i agree with them, it takes away from the actual news of the breakthrough, so rather than comments about stem cell research and its incre…

      As one of the commenters you mention, I have to say that I agree with your sentiments, at least to an extent. This does seem to be a significant development in medical research and we should celebrate it as such. The potential to clone human organs seems to be a little bit closer, as is an end to organ donor lists. However, stem cell research would not be an issue if the religious did not make it so, particularly the RCC. As such It is appropriate to comment on this fact.

      Of course it is a problem with the media. They seem unable to merely report medical research breakthroughs in “controversial” areas without beating down the doors of the local cleric for an irrelevant comment.

  7. We have a problem. If a skin cell can now potentially can become any other cell, it is now for all practical purposes just like a fertilised egg, no?

    So not only is every sperm, egg and fertilized egg sacred, so is every skin cell. To avoid accidentally killing skin cells (aka unborn children), to avoid eternal perdition, Catholics must henceforth avoid bathing or wearing rough clothing. They must wrap themselves at all times in PVDC (polyvinylidene chloride) aka Saran Wrap, except of course to copulate and to sodomise children.
    And oddly if Pope Francis decreed that, it would not be the strangest thing a pope has done.

    • In reply to #13 by Roedy:

      We have a problem. If a skin cell can now potentially can become any other cell, it is now for all practical purposes just like a fertilised egg, no?

      So not only is every sperm, egg and fertilized egg sacred, so is every skin cell. To avoid accidentally killing skin cells (aka unborn children), …

      You forgot killing cells in the mouth-lining by brushing teeth! Those Catholics are going to have to rethink their use of murderous toothbrushes!

  8. Now, each cell of the human body is potentially a new human been. What has the church to say about it? Are they going to not cut their nails and hair to avoid “kill” “potentially” new human beings?

  9. Researcher admits errors in ‘human skin to embryonic stem cells’ study

    By Agence France-Presse
    Thursday, May 23, 2013 18:04 EDT

    A blockbuster study in which US researchers reported that they had turned human skin cells into embryonic stem cells contained errors, its lead author has acknowledged.

    Shoukhrat Mitalipov nevertheless adamantly stood by the conclusions of the study published last week in journal Cell, which reported that human stem cell lines for the first time had been created via cloning.

    The journal Nature contacted Mitalipov after an anonymous online critic on PubPeer spotted four separate problems in the paper.

    In an interview with Nature, Mitalipov confirmed that three errors were made in the rush to publish — but denied the fourth issue raised was an error and said the overall conclusions were unaffected.

    “The results are real, the cell lines are real, everything is real,” said Mitalipov, a reproductive biology specialist at the Oregon Health and Science University in Beaverton.

    “I personally made the cells,” he said. “I saw them grow into colonies.”

    He blamed the errors on his rush to publish the research, which he hoped to present next month at the International Society for Stem Cell Research meeting. “Maybe it was rushed,” he said. “It was my mistake.”

    Mitalipov said his research team will be issuing an erratum correcting the flaws, and hopes that other scientists will try to duplicate his findings, which will lend it even more credibility.

    “The first thing we want to do is have people confirm our results,” Mitalipov said. “We are not hiding these cell lines.”

    The scientific community was divided as to how seriously to view the errors.

    Robin Lovell Badge, who heads the Division of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in London, warned against a rush to condemn.

    “I expect the errors above were also due to the rush to publish. The authors should be given a chance to answer and correct mistakes,” he told Nature.

    Others said they were surprised that Cell accepted the paper in just days — a time they deemed insufficient for proper peer review.

    “The four-day review process was obviously inadequate,” said Arnold Kriegstein, director of the stem cell program at the University of California, San Francisco.

    “It’s a degree of sloppiness that you wouldn’t expect in a paper that was going to have this high profile,” Kriegstein told the British journal.

    “One worries if there is more than meets the eye and whether there are other issues with the work that are not as apparent,” he said.

    The cloning method written about in the article was described as an important breakthrough because it does not destroy embryos in creating the type of stem cell that can morph into any other type of cell in the body.

    The technique involves transplanting an individual’s DNA into an egg cell that has been stripped of genetic material, a variation of a method called somatic cell nuclear transfer.

    Scientists said the research could one day offer new pathways in the fight against Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries and blindness.

    Since the reprogrammed cells use genetic material from the patient, there is no concern about transplant rejection.

    Another advantage of the technique is that it circumvents some of the ethical challenges inherent when using fertilized embryos to obtain stem cells.

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