Jan. 30 - Japanese scientists say they have developed a new process to make stem cells that is simpler and faster than current methods. Sarah Toms reports.
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It's being heralded as a major scientific discovery.....that has the potential to begin a new age of personalised medicine.
Scientists here in Japan have shown that stem cells can now be made quickly just by dipping blood cells into acid.
In a series of experiments, researchers show that cells plucked from animals can be turned into master cells simply by immersing them for half an hour.
Scientists then injected the cells into mouse embryos, showing that they could grow into tissues and organs.
Dr Haruko Obokata, from the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Japan, calls them Stap cells.
(SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) LEADER OF RIKEN CENTRE FOR DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY RESEARCH TEAM, HARUKO OBOKATA, SAYING:
"Nobody believed me when I told them what I'd found. So one time when I was lying awake in bed at night, I told myself that I'd scrap the experiment completely if I didn't get results the next day. Well that 'next day' sort of turned into five years."
The study published in the journal Nature reported research is now with human blood.
The breakthrough is being hailed by scientists because attempts to make stem cells have long been fraught with difficulties.
They say if it can be applied to human tissue, it could make the technology cheaper, faster and safer, creating patient-matched stem cells that can repair damaged or diseased organs.
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