The field of embryonic stem cell research has brought forth a startling possibility for curing a variety of illnesses hitherto considered impossible. This was made possible with their ground breaking technology which makes it possible to transform a fully developed adult cell of one type into another living being directly, sidestepping any kind of political or ethical disputes.
Experimenting on mice, biologists from Harvard pointed out three molecular switches which are crucial. These switches when flipped are able to convert pancreas cells into cells which produce insulin, a landmark discovery which could help diabetics.
This discovery has opened a plethora of possibilities. Published online in the journal called Nature, this breakthrough has brought forth possibilities of reprogramming cells and curing various afflictions like strokes, diabetes and even heart diseases. This could even eliminate the need for therapies, transplants or even drugs.
According to the co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute Douglas A.Melton, this is actually like a cell makeover. He says,” The goal is to create cells that are missing or defective in people. It’s very exciting.”
Embryonic Stem Cell researchers all over the world are excited with this breakthrough and are putting forth various theories on the implications of this discovery.
Chief scientific officer of the Advanced Cell Technology, Worcester who is also into research and development of stem cell therapies says, “I’m stunned. It introduces a whole new paradigm for treating diseases”.
Melton his associates are optimistic about this experiment working as well in people as it did with mice.