All across the world, scientists have begun clinical trials to try and do just that, by making use of the incredible power and versatility of #stem cells, which are special cells that can make endless copies of themselves and transform into every other type of cell.
While human embryos contain #embryonic stem cells, which help them to develop, the use of those cells has been controversial. The scientists are using induced pluripotent stem cells instead, which are other cells that have been reprogrammed to behave like stem cells.
“There are still significant challenges that we need to overcome, but in the long run we might even be able to create organs from stem cells taken from patients. That would enable rejection-free transplants,” said Professor Janet Rossant, a pioneer in the field.
In Canada, Prof Rossant chaired the working group of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research on Stem Cell Research, establishing guidelines for the field. These guidelines helped to keep the field alive in Canada, and were influential well beyond the country’s borders.
In 2006, Japanese researchers succeeded in taking skin cells from adult mice and reprogramming them to behave like embryonic stem cells. These revolutionary, induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells allowed scientists to sidestep the ongoing controversy.
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