Scientists are currently working on research that will expand the use of skin cells beyond skin grafts for burn victims that may be the answer for curing a broad range of debilitating conditions including cancer and spinal cord repair.
Researcher Sheila MacNeil of the University of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England stated that:
"There is the potential to take a biopsy of skin from a patient with disease, culture the cells, alter them to make them grow into tissues you are interested in and also use them to study the basis of the genetic disease and then to design therapies that you can put back into the patient."
Professor MacNeil also added that unlike stem cells from embryos, the adult stem cells were less likely to be rejected as they are from the donor's own body.
Michigan State University's Cellular Reprogramming Laboratory researchers are currently conducting studies on transforming ordinary skin cells into "anything" cells, known as pluripotent cells.
This involves adult human skin cells and converting them to a stem cell type known as Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. They then grow these cells under conditions that push the cells to adopt a new identity as cells of specific types, such as neurons.
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