March 29, 2012

First ever somatic stem cells obtained

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, Germany, have successfully isolated and gathered somatic stem cells from skin cells. Hans Schöler and his team took unique protein growth factors that stimulated cell growth. The key was a growth factor never used before in this type of research, Brn4. Before this breakthrough, pluripotent stem cells were obtained from fully differentiated somatic cells. These cells can go as far to differentiate into every type of cell in the body. But, the pluripotency also presents many dangers. According to Schöler, "pluripotent stem cells exhibit such a high degree of plasticity that under the wrong circumstances they may form tumours instead of regenerating a tissue or an organ." Schöler's skin cells, however, can only be multipotent which eliminates the dangers of pluripotency. 

I found this very interesting because Schöler and his team found new stem cells that can be the cure to many fatal diseases and even cancer. These cells are multipotent which does not leave fear of tumors forming from them. It seems everyday we are coming closer and closer to the answer to many cellular diseases found commonly in humans. Each breakthrough is leading us to our goal of eliminating these horrible and deadly diseases. 

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