Successful Cloning Of Adult Stem Cells Opens Up New Medical Possibilities
We all knew it was around the corner, didn’t we? Cloning human cells had never been a possibility before until now. Research team headed by Robert Lanza has successfully cloned human skin cells into stem cells as published in Cell Stem Cell journal. Be advised; though, this isn’t cloning with the aim of producing an entire human being but just so that diseases can be treated. Let’s be honest, the former would have been really interesting though.
The research is a sort of continuation of experiment led by a different team of researchers before. The difference lies in the age group that is targeted this time around, that constituted adult males compared to infants as in the experiments conducted before.
A couple of men aged 35 and 75 were generous enough to donate their skin cells to the cause. How the cloning process comes to pass, you must be wondering. Well, here’s how: DNA from unfertilized eggs donated by unidentified females is removed and fresh DNA from the skin cells donated by adult male donors is injected. The outcome is a filled egg which is treated with some amount of electricity for fusion. Following a dormant period of a couple of hours, the eggs grow into a blastocyst that further grows into a pluripotent stem cell compatible with the male donors.
Technically, these stem cells could serve a number of purposes including their ability to be grown into a number of different cells for transplant in a patient’s body.
The Korean government and a foundation, that remains unnamed, will fund this research. Researchers believe that a lot of improvement is still required to achieve an appreciable success rate since only two eggs out of 77 have translated into successful experiments so far. Some of us will just wait till they are capable of reproducing an entire human body, right? Go science!