Scientists Create Stem Cells From Urine

Some scientists from China used an unlikely item to make stem cells and it could change the way people think about and treat stem cell research.

According to Reuters, A stem cell biologist and his team have found some success while trying to convert kidney cells found in urine into stem cells. They were using a retrovirus to reprogram the cells, but the stem cells they created were high-risk for tumors. Now they are using vectors, “a type of DNA molecule useful in transporting genetic information.”

Pei Duanqing, Director of the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, told Reuters that this breakthrough could put the controversy over embryonic stem cell research to rest and give researchers plenty of stem cells to work with in the future.

“It’s an unlimited sources of cells. It’s non-invasive, and the whole procedure is more pleasant than having to take skin biopsies or pluck needles into people,” explained Duanging.

The stem cells formed in a culture in 12 days and quickly transformed into neural cells. After being injected into the brains of newborn rats, there have been no signs of mutations or tumors.

The team continues to make tweaks to their method but have high hopes for the procedure.