While the research has currently only been performed in mice, scientists have made large strides in stem cell creation research. Previously, researchers encountered obstacles concerning the controversy of embryonic stem cells, or complicated processes of creating stem cells. With this new technique being developed, there may be hope for a simple and fast option for creating stem cells for future research.
The RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts published their research on their new technique they have developed with mice today in the journal Nature. For their process, adult cells can be stressed using acidic conditions or oxygen starvation until the cells are near death. At this point, most of the cells do die from the stress, but a portion survives the trauma, recovering after a few days. These lucky few, in order to recover, return to a state similar to that of an embryonic stem cell. This research, in addition to its uses in providing stem cells, also shows that once a cell has matured, it is able to change to a previous state, previously thought impossible.
If this process is found to be useful for human cells, these flexible cells could created from an individual’s blood to help recover from disease or injury, in addition to providing human tissue for more humane food and drug testing.