A research team at Harvard University has conducted a preliminary study on monkeys paralyzed by spinal cord injuries using a newly found technique for turning specialized cells into multipurpose ones that behave like embryonic stem cells, one of the team members said Thursday.

The same team is also experimenting with human cells in the hope of generating so-called STAP cells, which can turn into any type of body tissue, according to Charles Vacanti, a Harvard professor who co-authored papers on STAP cells published in the journal Nature on Wednesday.

A team of researchers at Harvard and the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, including Vacanti and Haruko Obokata, a Riken biologist who was the lead author of the Nature papers, has developed a new method for generating cells that behave like embryonic stem cells by simply soaking mouse blood cells in a mild acid.