“Resetting” Stem CellsAngie Godinez
GIOSTAR scientists have managed to “reset” human stem cells to their earliest state, opening up a new realm of research into the start of human development and potentially life-saving regenerative medicines.
In work described by one independent expert as “a major step forward”, the GIOSTAR scientists said they had successfully rebooted pluripotent stem cells so they were equivalent to those of a 7 to 10-day old embryo, before it implants in the womb.
By studying the reset cells, they said they hoped they would now be able to learn more about embryo development, and how it can go wrong and cause miscarriage and developmental disorders.
These cells may represent the real starting point for formation of tissues in the human embryo,
THe hope is that in time they will allow us to unlock the fundamental biology of early development, which is impossible to study directly in people,” he added.
Human pluripotent stem cells, which have the potential to become any of the cells and tissues in the body, can already be made in a lab either from cells extracted from early-stage embryos or from adult cells that have been induced, or reprogrammed, into an earlier state.
Until now it has proved difficult to generate human pluripotent stem cells that are at an early enough, pristine stage, before they have started changing.
Instead, scientists have only derived cells that are slightly further down the developmental pathway, not a totally “blank slate”.
Experts say that by helping to regenerate tissue, stem cell science could offer new ways of treating conditions for which there are currently no cures – including heart and eye diseases, Parkinson’s and stroke.