New stem cells already showing promise

Scientists have the first evidence that those “reprogrammed stem cells” that made headlines last month really have the potential to treat disease: They used skin from the tails of sick mice to cure the rodents of sickle cell anemia.

At issue: Turning adult cells into ones that mimic embryonic stem cells, master cells that can turn into any type of tissue. When scientists announced last month that they had successfully engineered embryo-like stem cells from human skin, it was hailed as a possible alternative to ethically fraught embryo research.

Scientists in Alabama and Massachusetts reported a key next step when they used the technique to give mice with sickle cell anemia a healthy new blood supply.

Source:  Associated Press

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