Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla have converted adult cells into embryonic-like stem cells without using dangerous genetic manipulations, it was announced Thursday.
The technique allows scientists to make stem cells in the laboratory from adult cells without genetically altering them, overcoming a previously challenging safety hurdle, according to Scripps.
"We are very excited about this breakthrough in generating embryonic-like cells from fibroblasts (cells that give rise to connective tissue) without using any genetic material,'' said Sheng Ding, an associate professor at The Scripps Research Institute who led the study.
Scientists have been dreaming about this for years.''
Using adult instead of embryonic stem cells also avoids the moral dilemma of destroying zygotes, which pro-life advocates oppose.
The discovery has the potential to accelerate the development of therapies for such diseases at diabetes and Parkinson's, according to Scripps.
The study was published in Wednesday's online issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell.
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