Friday, August 8, 2008

Scientists create stem cells for 10 disorders

Harvard scientists say they have created stems cells for 10 genetic disorders, which will allow researchers to watch the diseases develop in a lab dish. This early step, using a new technique, could help speed up efforts to find treatments for some of the most confounding ailments, the scientists said.

Dr. George Daley and his colleagues at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute used ordinary skin cells and bone marrow from people with a variety of diseases, including Parkinson's, Huntington's and Down syndrome to produce the stem cells. The new technique reprograms cells, giving them the chameleon-like qualities of embryonic stem cells, which can morph into all kinds of tissue, such as heart, nerve and brain. As with embryonic stem cells, the hope is to speed medical research.

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