Researchers Create Personalized, Disease-Specific Stem Cells

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports Your Universe Online

Researchers reported on Monday the creation of the first disease-specific line of embryonic stem cells made with a patients own DNA, a major breakthrough in the field of regenerative medicine.

The achievement marks the first time cloning technologies have been used to generate stem cells that are genetically matched to adult patients.

The independent group of scientists, led by experts at the New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute (NYSCF), used somatic cell nuclear transfer to successfully clone a skin cell from a 32-year-old woman with type-1 diabetes. Those cells were then turned into insulin-producing cells resembling the beta cells lost in the disease.

In type-1 diabetes, a patients immune system attacks the bodys insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells, leaving the patient unable to adequately regulate blood sugar levels.

The researchers said the insulin-producing cells created in the current study could someday replace cells damaged by type-1 diabetes, something that could provide better treatment or even a cure for the disease.

I am thrilled to say we have accomplished our goal of creating patient-specific stem cells from diabetic patients using somatic cell nuclear transfer, Susan Solomon, CEO and co-founder of NYSCF, said in a recent statement.

I became involved with medical research when my son was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, and seeing todays results gives me hope that we will one day have a cure for this debilitating disease.

As reported Monday in the journal Nature, the scientists derived embryonic stem cells by adding the nuclei of adult skin cells to unfertilized donor oocytes using a process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). Embryonic stem cells were created from the adult donor with type-1 diabetes and a healthy control.

In 2011, the team reported creating the first embryonic cell line from human skin using nuclear transfer when they made stem cells and insulin-producing beta cells from patients with type-1 diabetes. However, those stem cells were triploid, meaning they had three sets of chromosomes, and therefore could not be used for new therapies.

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Researchers Create Personalized, Disease-Specific Stem Cells

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