Harvard Team Makes 10 Disease-Bearing Stem Cell Lines

Rob Waters reports on a new development in stem cell research — Harvard University scientists have made lines of stem cells, able to turn into any other cell in the body, from bits of skin or blood of 10 patients with genetic diseases including muscular dystrophy and juvenile diabetes, using Yamanaka’s technique for creating what Yamanaka calls “induced pluripotent stem cells, or IPS cells”. This is a favored technique for two key reasons: it is relatively easy and inexpensive to perform and it doesn’t require the use of human embryos or unfertilized eggs. Because human embryos aren’t used or harmed to create the IPS cells, the method sidesteps current ethical concerns.

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