Stem cell ‘immortality’ gene found

May 31, 2003 | Source: New Scientist

The key gene that keeps embryonic stem cells in a state of youthful immortality has been discovered.

The breakthrough may one day contribute to turning ordinary adult cells into those with the properties of human embryonic stem cells (capable of differentiating into the different cells in the body). This would end the need to destroy embryos to harvest the cells for new medical treatments.

Comment: “This is very important, a big step in being able to turn any cell (e.g., a skin cell) into pluripotent cells that can be transformed into any type of cell. This would replace the need for embryonic stem cells. The two big benefits are (1) side-stepping the ethical controversy and barriers surrounding use of fetal tissue, and (2) creating pluripotent cells with the patient’s own DNA rather than the DNA of a stem cell.” – Ray Kurzweil