Skip to Content
Uncategorized

A New, More Ethical Way To Create Human Stem Cells?

A promising advance seems to have been made by Japanese researchers.
August 11, 2006

Japanese researchers announced that they can make adult differentiated cells behave like embryonic stem cells, just by exposing them to four different proteins. The findings, reported yesterday in the journal Cell, could be the first step toward the holy grail of stem cell biology: a way to create stem cells without the use of human eggs.

Human eggs are a very limited resource and using them for research is ethically questionable to many people (see my “Stem Cells Reborn”). However, eggs and embryos are currently the only source of new lines of embryonic stem cells. In addition, eggs are the only known way to make “patient-matched” stem cells, a feat that has been carried out successfully in mice and other animals, but not yet in humans.

The Japanese researchers picked 24 genes known to be expressed in early embryos and tested the genes’ ability to reprogram adult cells. They found that a combination of four of these genes can make adult cells behave much like stem cells. The cells could differentiate into the three main tissue types found in human embryos, which eventually give rise to all organs.

While the results are exciting, it’s not yet clear if the same process will work with types of adult cells other than the fibroblast cells, found in connective tissue, that the current experiment focused on. And further research is needed to determine if these reprogrammed cells truly behave like embryonic stem cells and would be useful for cell replacement therapies. – By Emily Singer

Deep Dive

Uncategorized

Embracing CX in the metaverse

More than just meeting customers where they are, the metaverse offers opportunities to transform customer experience.

Identity protection is key to metaverse innovation

As immersive experiences in the metaverse become more sophisticated, so does the threat landscape.

The modern enterprise imaging and data value chain

For both patients and providers, intelligent, interoperable, and open workflow solutions will make all the difference.

Scientists have created synthetic mouse embryos with developed brains

The stem-cell-derived embryos could shed new light on the earliest stages of human pregnancy.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.