For the first time, scientists have created stem cells within the bodies of laboratory mice. This proves that it is possible for damaged cells to be rejuvenated through stem cell therapies.
The media excitement of the recent advance has been described by the UK’s NHS as being “over the top“, with the Financial Times, The Independent, and Sky News, among others, all referring to the study as a “breakthrough”.
Nevertheless, the research is progressing, and every step taken is an exciting one, enhancing hope for a future of wondrous healthcare possibilities.
The recent study was conducted at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre in Madrid. The technique used involves stem cells being created from ordinary skin cells by injecting them with four genetic factors that re-programme the adult cells back to their embryonic state. These stem cells are called induced pluriopotent stem (iPS) cells. A Nobel prize was awarded in 2012 for their discovery.
The research team, for the first time, managed to create these cells from within the body of laboratory mice. Until the study, scientists have only been able to create stem cells during experiments outside of a living host.
“We can now start to think about methods for inducing regeneration locally and in a transitory manner for a particular damaged tissue,” said Dr Serrano, who led the study published in the journal Nature.
A problem still though remains, researchers still aren’t to “direct” these cells to repair tissues or form new organs, and instead some of the cells formed tumours.
The field of stem cell research is fast moving. Chris Mason, professor of regenerative medicine at University College London, has said the reprogramming of a patient’s own cells within their bodies has the potential to transform their lives.
The Future of Stem Cell Research
The news reports about the “breakthrough”, have gave examples of what illnesses could be cured in the future thanks to stem cell research.
Examples include the curing of heart disease, spinal cord injuries, liver damage, pancreas disease, diabetes, parkinson’s disease, alzheimer’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, lung diseases, arthritis, sickle cell anemia, skin damage, eye disease, MS, and any organ failure. Once perfected, all of these diseases, and many more will be a thing of the past.
Currently, many potential treatments are being tested in animals, and some have already been brought to clinical trials. In February 2010 ReNeuron announced it had been approved to conduct a Phase I clinical trial of a neural stem cell treatment for stroke. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have authorized clinical trials to move into Phase I for the first embryonic stem cell-based treatment for acute spinal cord injury.
The reality though is that the human body could be kept forever young through regeneration therapies. The book to the right is perfect for an in depth look into how immortality can be achieved through stem cell research. Or check out amazon for more related books.
For an in-depth look into stem cell research you can read ‘Hope and hype: An analysis of stem cells in the media‘, a behind the headlines special report by the UK’s NHS.
Aubrey de Gray, the Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation, believes that research, including stem cell research, will together make immortality a possibility in as little as 20 years. Below you can see a video where he explains the logic behind his prediction.
The video below is packed full of information about the future potential of stem cell research.
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