Scientists from Kyoto University and the University of Wisconsin have announced that they have succeeded in producing equivalents to embryonic stem cells by reprogramming human skin cells. The new findings represent a breakthrough in regenerative medicine research. Behaving like embryonic stem cells, the reprogrammed skin cells can develop into various kinds of body tissue and cells, including heart tissue and neurons.

If the technique is successfully advanced to the stage of application, it will become possible to create various cells and organs from a patient’s skin and transplant them into the patient. Because the cells and organs originate with the patient, the transplants will not trigger immunological rejection. The technique could even cure a person with a spinal cord injury or damaged brain cells.

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