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Researchers grow stem cells from human skin

m human embryos are the most versatile type of stem cell because they have the potential to form any cell or tissue in the body. But they are also exploring the potential of stem cells from adults. In addition to skin, the cells have been identified in bone marrow, the brain and blood from the umbilical cord.

"Compared to bone marrow, a skin biopsy is easy to take, so it offers advantages for clinical use," said Soker. "The cells can be obtained from any small sample of human skin."

Next, Atala's research team hopes to test the function of the tissue that was created from the stem cells.

"We've proved that the cells can be used to engineer tissues consistent with bone, muscle and fat when implanted in animals; now we need to test their function long term," said Soker.

Soker said the cells have potential to be used both in tissue engineering ?the science of growing tissues and organs in the laboratory ?as well as in cell therapy. For cell therapy, laboratory-grown cells would be injected into the body to replace breast tissue removed by surgery, to fill in the gaps in bone fractures or replace muscle damaged by injury.

"The ability to engineer tissues from a patient's own cells may overcome two major problems in transplantation medicine: immune rejection and tissue shortage," Atala said.


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Source:Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center


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