Sunday, August 25, 2013

Adult Stem-Cell UPDATE: Researchers Grow Heart From Human Skin Cells

One of our long-time mantras here at "A Shepherd's Voice" is "Are California voters having second thoughts yet about shelling out $3 billion + for immoral & unproven embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to show a single cure, while adult stem cells are curing people left and right?"

There have been too many adult-stem cell advances to count, but we just ran across this one today. It's an August 14 report from

Breakthrough: Scientists build a beating mouse heart with human tissue

In a major scientific first, a team of developmental biologists has built a functional mouse heart from human tissues. The results herald a future where specific patches of heart muscle – or even the whole organ – could be grown for transplantation.

The work, which was led by University of Pittsburgh's Lei Yang and is recounted in the latest issue of Nature Communications, hinges on the combination of two major regenerative medicine techniques. The first is the use of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). iPS cells are mature, differentiated cells (liver cells, for instance, or skin cells) that have been reprogrammed into an undifferentiated state.RELATED

Like embryonic stem cells, iPS cells can be stimulated by growth factors to give rise to a wide range of different cell types; just because an iPS cell started out as, say, a renal cell expelled in the urine, doesn't mean it can't be coaxed into becoming dental tissue (fun fact: a team of researchers recently did exactly that) – it just needs the right set of instructions. Yang and his colleagues took cells from a small biopsy of human skin, reverse-engineered them into iPS cells, then instructed them to produce what are called multipotential cardiovascular progenitor cells. These "MCP cells," as they're called, are the precursors to three very important types of heart cell: cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, and smooth muscle cells."

The same article had an embedded link to another adult stem-cell advance:

Scientists grow teeth from human urine because why the hell not

"A new study shows that stem cells extracted from urine can be turned into rudimentary tooth-like structures."


Anonymous said...

Question about the mouse heart... all I keep seeing (on the articles I've read, including yours) is that the iPS cells were derived from "cells from a small biopsy of human skin," but no one mentions the source for the skin cells (embryo or grown person). If its not listed as embryonic, does that mean for sure that the cells were NOT embryonic? Thanks for any help you can provide (since I can't find the answer on my own and don't want to pay the $32 to read the original journal article :)

A Shepherd's Voice said...

Daily Mail article: "These specialised cells - induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells - are adult stem cells which act like embryonic ones, gaining the ability to become any cell in the human body. But embryos do not have to be destroyed to create a supply."

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