"Our current study is nowhere meant to be a first step in that direction," she added, but "this gives us hope for future therapeutic interventions, using patients' own reprogrammed cells."
One U.S. expert believes the new work could have implications for human medicine down the line.
"It's hard not to extrapolate from this to humans, but I understand, I guess, why they don't want to," said Paul Sanberg, a distinguished professor of neurosurgery and director of the University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa. "Yes, it's in the realm of animal models. But it certainly shows how the iPS cells can be very plastic, and used for a variety of areas to develop tissues and now an animal. And it could end up being a way to develop animal models for human diseases in the future. So it's very interesting."
Find out more about stem cells at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
SOURCES: Fanyi Zeng, professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and associate director, Shanghai Institute of Medical Genetics, Shanghai Childrens Hospital, Shanghai, China; Qi Zhou, associate director, zoology, State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Beijing's Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing; Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., distinguished professor of neurosurgery and director, University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair, Tampa; July 23, 2009, Nature
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