Scientists at the Medical Research Council of the Wellcome Trust from the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute have found a way to effectively reset human stem cells to its embryonic state. What this means is that human pluripotent stem cells that are available only in 7-9 day old embryos before they are implanted in the walls of the uterus, can now be reengineered in adults through modern regenerative medicine.
Stem cells are capable of developing into any specialized organs like the heart, nerves, blood, and muscles among others – because they are largely unspecialized. This enables them to form any body organs or be engineered to meet any physiological and medical purposes. They can also be harvested from adult cells or even extracted from early stage embryo through lab processes before being induced into pluripotent states.
According to medical experts, human pluripotent stem cells are known to help for tissue transplants and cells regeneration, and they can then be used understand birth defects and cancer with a view to helping drug manufacturers develop more effective drugs.
The research for this experiment was published in the journal Cell, and Prof. Austin Smith, one of the authors states that “capturing embryonic stem cells is like stopping the developmental clock at the precise moment before they begin to turn into distinct cells and tissues. Scientists have perfected a reliable way of doing this with mouse cells, but human cells have proved more difficult to arrest and show subtle differences between the individual cells. It’s as if the developmental clock has not stopped at the same time, and some cells are a few minutes ahead of others.”