Monday, November 29, 2010

"Direct conversion" approach in stem cell research

AP is running a story on stem cell work by John Geahart of University of Pennsylvania. Curiously, there is no reference to this work being published in a scientific journal, such as Science:

The new direct-conversion approach avoids embryonic stem cells and the whole notion of returning to an early state. Why not just go directly from one specialized cell to another? It's like flying direct rather than scheduling a stopover.

Even short of researchers' dreams of fixing internal organs from within, Gearhart says direct conversion may offer some other advantages over more established ways of producing specialized cells. Using embryonic stem cells is proving to be inefficient and more difficult than expected, scientists say. For example, the heart muscle cells developed from them aren't fully mature, Gearhart noted.

The specific experiment seems to involve the conversion of specialized cells into early stage blood cells.

Cross-reference: Biotech Exec Says CIRM Review Misguided, Biased and Disservice to Public

“Direct Conversion” May Make Embryonic Stem Cell Research Obsolete


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