From Skin Cell to Pulsating Heart Cell

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A scheme of the generation of induced pluripot...

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An example of science seeming like science fiction. Just a few decades ago, this would have been nothing more than speculative science, more likely, science fiction. Today, however, is the era of stem cells research and there are some that argue we shall soon achieve immortality.

This particular study skipped the stem cells:

Scripps Research Institute scientists have converted adult skin cells directly into beating heart cells efficiently without having to first go through the laborious process of generating embryonic-like stem cells. The powerful general technology platform could lead to new treatments for a range of diseases and injuries involving cell loss or damage, such as heart disease, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s disease.


The current process takes a donor cell and makes it re-programmable by inserting genes into the cell. While the process does not need any stem cells, it still has some challenges to face. It is time consuming and only small percentage actually turn into the target cells.

The article also states that the re-programmable, or “induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells” remain mixed in target cells. Introducing it into mice resulted in cancerous growth. One could see why modifying this current process might be desirable.

The team introduced the same genes but “shut them off” after a few days. This happened long before they became iPS cells. When the introduced genes were “shut off” the cell was told to become heart tissue. 11 days later, it was heart tissue pulsating in a petri dish.

Interesting and fascinating, well and good but I think, at least until they do much more research, I shall stick with some exercise and try keep what I got working a bit longer.  Hopefully, by the time my heart fails me, they will have figured out a way to take some skin off my behind and grow me a new one.

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One thought on “From Skin Cell to Pulsating Heart Cell

  1. John D.Lemke says:

    Heart Cells Created from Skin Cells

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