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View Full Version : Scientists transform skin into brain cells without stem cell usage


Lance
August 5th, 2011, 09:16 AM
http://old.news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20110805/sc_livescience/humanskintransformedintobraincellsnostemcellsneeded;_ylt=AorztzcWQ4RLbNmkAyRvMElY24cA;_ylu=X3oDMTN2aGRscW9jBGFzc2V0A2xpdmVzY2llbmNlLzIwMTEwODA1L2h1bWFuc2tpbnRyYW5zZm9ybWVkaW50b2JyYWluY2VsbHNub3N0ZW1jZWxsc25lZWRlZARjcG9zAzgEcG9zAzgEc2
VjA3luX3RvcF9zdG9yaWVzBHNsawNodW1hbnNraW50cmE-



Researchers for the first time have turned human skin cells into working brain cells, completely bypassing the need for stem cells, they say.
The achievement comes a year after researchers at Stanford University performed the same feat in mice, turning cells from the rodents' skin into neurons.
The lab-created brain cells act the same as normal human brain cells, the researchers found: They have the same ability to send electric signals; they seem to express the same genes in the same ways; and they are able to communicate with other brain cells, as demonstrated in a lab dish and when implanted into mice.
Being able to produce brain cells in the lab (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/livescience/sc_livescience/storytext/humanskintransformedintobraincellsnostemcellsneeded/42513762/SIG=121ppqvch/*http://www.livescience.com/10703-brain-cells-lab-dish-time.html) could help develop treatments for Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases, the researchers said. [Inside the Brain: A Journey Through Time (http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/livescience/sc_livescience/storytext/humanskintransformedintobraincellsnostemcellsneeded/42513762/SIG=123cvmu2d/*http://www.livescience.com/14413-brain-images-portraits-mind.html)]
In addition to transforming skin cells from healthy individuals, the researchers did the same with cells from participants with the hereditary (early-onset) version of Alzheimer's disease. These manufactured brain cells had the genetic signature of Alzheimer's and have some of the same characteristic features of Alzheimer's as cells taken directly from the brain of a patient with the early-onset Alzheimer's gene.




It looks like we can now put the whole 'stem cell controversy argument' to bed, seeing as potential lifesaving procedures can be done without them now. This is pretty incredible news. Hopefully it can be replicated and streamlined for practical usage. Imagine being able to cure Alzheimer's.

Esper
August 5th, 2011, 09:37 AM
Imagine what we could be accomplishing right now if we could have just used available stem cells from the beginning. Great news. My grandmother has Alzheimer's and while these discoveries are probably too late for her, I'm hopeful that some day soon we'll have treatments.

Really, this is pretty amazing. I can't even imagine what medical science will be able to do next.

Mr. X
August 5th, 2011, 09:47 AM
While creating brain cells from skin cells is a large step, im looking foward to seeing just what other types of cells can be made

But still, odds of this getting funding is slim since its more profitable to treat a condition then it is to cure it.

Team Fail
August 5th, 2011, 10:26 AM
While creating brain cells from skin cells is a large step, im looking foward to seeing just what other types of cells can be made

But still, odds of this getting funding is slim since its more profitable to treat a condition then it is to cure it.

Well, I think that is true, only in short-term. But to the government, it's more profitable to just treat it because they get money. I would think that the average person would go for the cure than the treatment.

Anders
August 5th, 2011, 03:03 PM
Well, I think that is true, only in short-term. But to the government, it's more profitable to just treat it because they get money. I would think that the average person would go for the cure than the treatment.

Unfortunately the average person doesn't fund a scientific study as much as the government does.

Nonetheless that's amazing. Science is progressing at a breakneck speed and I'm glad to have been born in this age to see it.

Black Ice
August 5th, 2011, 05:44 PM
I doubt this will ever replace the efficiency of a stem cell, but it's good to hear anyway. Hopefully this can be replicated with other types of cells too.

marz
August 5th, 2011, 09:54 PM
Well, I think that is true, only in short-term. But to the government, it's more profitable to just treat it because they get money. I would think that the average person would go for the cure than the treatment.

If it's on the government's dollar, they won't be giving people the option of a cure over a treatment.

Although if this does get properly funded, you can only imagine to what this can lead. It'd be an incredible advancement in medicine. But if this goes any further there are going to be some serious ethical questions being asked.

Anders
August 6th, 2011, 03:36 PM
Although if this does get properly funded, you can only imagine to what this can lead. It'd be an incredible advancement in medicine. But if this goes any further there are going to be some serious ethical questions being asked.

Ethical questions of whether or not to turn skin cells into brain cells to treat diseases? The ethical questions lied in the fact that stem cells were extracted from embryos. Nobody in their right mind would object to donating skin cells in the same way that people don't object to donating blood, considering the former is far less invasive and no different in its goal.

Lance
August 9th, 2011, 08:20 AM
Ethical questions of whether or not to turn skin cells into brain cells to treat diseases? The ethical questions lied in the fact that stem cells were extracted from embryos. Nobody in their right mind would object to donating skin cells in the same way that people don't object to donating blood, considering the former is far less invasive and no different in its goal.

Not in that sense - the ethical questions would arise from the fact that we'd be cheating death by curing/effectively treating diseases that would otherwise be terminal, like Alzheimer's.

Anders
August 9th, 2011, 11:35 AM
Not in that sense - the ethical questions would arise from the fact that we'd be cheating death by curing/effectively treating diseases that would otherwise be terminal, like Alzheimer's.

I don't get it. I've never seen anybody object to curing a disease before.

If these people do exist they're in a small minority and aren't going to be able to convince an entire world that curing disease is wrong. Do you think its ethically wrong to cure Alzheimer's?

PokéSwimmer
August 9th, 2011, 12:42 PM
Not in that sense - the ethical questions would arise from the fact that we'd be cheating death by curing/effectively treating diseases that would otherwise be terminal, like Alzheimer's.

Isn't that the whole point of antibiotics though? I mean, they allow us to treat diseases that would otherwise kill us. I don't see how this would be viewed any differently.

Blue Nocturne
August 9th, 2011, 12:48 PM
I don't get it. I've never seen anybody object to curing a disease before.

If these people do exist they're in a small minority and aren't going to be able to convince an entire world that curing disease is wrong. Do you think its ethically wrong to cure Alzheimer's?

You underestimate how vocal this minority is. Maybe no one agrees with them, but good luck getting them to shut up.

I'm dubious as to how efficient this method is. How fast is in in comparison to a stem cell? How long and how expensive is the process? Do we know if they can be turned into other kind of cells? It's an amazing discovery, long may the work continue, but this is only just the beginning!

As someone who has no moral issue with the use of stem cells, I'm somewhat downtrodden that we are only now reaching a point where a future without Alzheimer's is foreseeable.

Anders
August 9th, 2011, 12:54 PM
You underestimate how vocal this minority is. Maybe no one agrees with them, but good luck getting them to shut up.

I don't even know who these people are. I've never heard of a crusade against curing disease.


Isn't that the whole point of antibiotics though? I mean, they allow us to treat diseases that would otherwise kill us. I don't see how this would be viewed any differently.

I wonder if there's an anti cancer cure group I'm not aware of.

Ascaris
August 9th, 2011, 01:11 PM
Not in that sense - the ethical questions would arise from the fact that we'd be cheating death by curing/effectively treating diseases that would otherwise be terminal, like Alzheimer's.

how is that an ethical dilemma? an ethical dilemma is a conflict of morals and there is nothing moral about refusing treatment to someone who is ill regardless of the disease. 'cheating death' raises no ethical implications and isnt even a valid philosophical point to raise because a cure for current terminal illnesses is only a temporary reprieve anyway so until immortality is made possible by science it doesnt even make sense to contest this. to add on to that, this 'vocal minority' that blue nocturne is referring to dont seem to be very vocal since its the first time ive heard of such a group until this thread, and if people actually exist who subscribe to a set of ideals that causes them to take issue with the possibility of an alzheimer's cure then they are the sort of people who would raise concerns about human progress and scientific breakthroughs in general; consequently no ones going to give a crap about their opinions.

Lance
August 10th, 2011, 09:36 AM
how is that an ethical dilemma? an ethical dilemma is a conflict of morals and there is nothing moral about refusing treatment to someone who is ill regardless of the disease. 'cheating death' raises no ethical implications and isnt even a valid philosophical point to raise because a cure for current terminal illnesses is only a temporary reprieve anyway so until immortality is made possible by science it doesnt even make sense to contest this. to add on to that, this 'vocal minority' that blue nocturne is referring to dont seem to be very vocal since its the first time ive heard of such a group until this thread, and if people actually exist who subscribe to a set of ideals that causes them to take issue with the possibility of an alzheimer's cure then they are the sort of people who would raise concerns about human progress and scientific breakthroughs in general; consequently no ones going to give a crap about their opinions.

I don't know, you tell me. But I know for sure that some staunchly conservative/backwards people will use that as their argument to stall this, that it's unnatural to be able to maneuver around these diseases.

I'm personally all for this sort of thing and for scientific progress, fyi.


I don't get it. I've never seen anybody object to curing a disease before.

If these people do exist they're in a small minority and aren't going to be able to convince an entire world that curing disease is wrong. Do you think its ethically wrong to cure Alzheimer's?

Maybe you should wait to jump on other's opinions before you know the whole story. All I said is that there are backwards fundamentalists whackos out there who would object to life saving advances.

Ascaris
August 10th, 2011, 10:22 AM
live_wire666, what we're questioning is the conclusion that there are people like that at all, or at least your notion that there would be any form of opposition (in the form of an 'ethical dilemma', a misnomer as ive explained already) to this breakthrough as this group of people you speak of is certainly not a 'vocal' minority - you'll be hard pressed to find a shred of evidence that people exist who would actually raise an argument against this treatment, and labeling this presumably non-existent element of society as conservative or fundamentalist is just generalising based on assumptions.

Anders
August 10th, 2011, 12:47 PM
Maybe you should wait to jump on other's opinions before you know the whole story. All I said is that there are backwards fundamentalists whackos out there who would object to life saving advances.

Is it wrong of me to respond to somebody who responded to me? All I said to you was that I'd never seen anybody object to curing a disease, and that if they did exist they were in a small minority that obviously has no bearing over what happens. If they did all the diseases we have cured over the past 100 years would not have been cured. I don't know what part of your story you left out, but it shouldn't be up to me to assume that you only posted half of it. What did you leave out?

Lance
August 10th, 2011, 06:38 PM
you'll be hard pressed to find a shred of evidence that people exist who would actually raise an argument against this treatment

Here they are. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Science)

The sect known as Christian Scientists eschew and forbid all forms of modern medicine in healing, and they actively lobby their cause/belief system. If you were to contract TB, or any other disease, even the cold, you could ONLY treat yourself with the 'christian science prayer', no form of medicine, from pills to antibiotics, is tolerated or endorsed. So basically, they die.

Trust me. In this day and age, I would hope that common sense and rationale would win out, but there's plenty of people and sects like this. All I'm saying is that stupidity is more evident than you may think.

Ascaris
August 11th, 2011, 11:27 AM
Here they are. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Science)

The sect known as Christian Scientists eschew and forbid all forms of modern medicine in healing, and they actively lobby their cause/belief system. If you were to contract TB, or any other disease, even the cold, you could ONLY treat yourself with the 'christian science prayer', no form of medicine, from pills to antibiotics, is tolerated or endorsed. So basically, they die.



uh thats completely different. thats a fundamentalist group that eschews ALL modern medicine, and does so with good, albeit ridiculously misguided, intentions. the group you described is against curing terminal diseases and would rather let someone die of alzheimers than support research that would cure it.