Acid bath turns cells from any tissue into stem cells
This is amazing! Just think of what they’ll be able to do with this!
by John Timmer - Jan 30 2014, 8:12am PST
The development of human embryonic stem cells, which have the ability to form any cell in the body, may enable us to repair tissues damaged by injury or disease. Initially, these cells could only be obtained through methods that some deemed ethically unacceptable, but researchers eventually developed a combination of genes that could reprogram most cells into an embryonic-like state. That worked great for studies, but wasn’t going to work for medical uses, since one of the genes involved has been associated with cancer.
Researchers have since been focusing on whittling down the requirements needed for getting a cell to behave like a stem cell. Now, researchers have figured out a radically simplified process: expose the cells to acidic conditions, then put them in conditions that stem cells grow well in. After a week, it’s possible to direct these cells into a state that’s even more flexible than embryonic stem cells.