Stem cell therapy has been vaunted as the answer to all ills, with many skeptics still on the fence due to possible adverse effects.
A new discovery however, might avenge those researchers who believe that stem cell therapy will be the wave of the future.
Although some stem cell therapy is already in use in the medical field, for healing eye, heart and brain tissue, the new discovery could extend its use to many more tissues and organs.
Japanese scientists have discovered that by placing blood cells in acid, the 'shock' changes their assigned role and transform them in cell that can be changed to assume the role of other cells in the body, which would enable scientitst them to produce stem cells quickly and efficiently.
Stem cells are a type of cell that can reprogram itself to become any tissue for any organ or part of the body. For that reason they are crucial in the development of therapy for the treatment of organs and tissues that are vital to the survival of a human being.
New research has recently pointed to the possibility of reprogramming skin cells to reassign themselves to a different type of tissue, thereby possibly eliminating the need to use embryo cells to harvest stem cells, which is a very controversial practice in many countries.
The new discovery by the Japanese team outlines how cells 'shocked' in a bath of acid, can trigger reassignment and therefore acquire the ability to reform as a different type of cell, essentially becoming stem cells.
What the discovery also points to, is the possibility of understanding cancer too, since tumors are generated by a change in the genetic code.
What this new discovery also entails, is that cells from a patient's body can be harvested quickly and cheaply to construct new tissue or organ. It would be in essence, throwing open the door to simple, effective and economically feasible stem cell therapy for everyone.
The research that produced the results outlined in the study was done on mice, but already a study to replicate the discovery in human tissue is underway.
Unfortunately the risk that exists in conventional cell stem therapy exist for the one that would be generated by using the patien'ts own cells, so that the intensive harvesting process must be just as rigorous.
Some people are skeptical of the findings. They raise the question that if dipping cells in an acidic PH can alter their function and generation process so deeply, why does the assumption of acidic foods not have the same effects in the human body.
Source : BBC/ 1.29.14