by Steven Ertelt
February 11, 2008
Los Angeles, CA (LifeNews.com) — Researchers at UCLA are advancing an embryonic stem cell research alternative that scientists in Wisconsin and Japan used to create embryonic-like stem cells without the destruction of human life. The UCLA scientists were able to replicate the studies and create the skin cells without destroying human embryos.
A report on their study appears in today’s edition of the academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Kathrin Plath, an assistant professor of biological chemistry at UCLA and lead author of the study, told the Daily Breeze that the stem cells they created "were virtually indistinguishable from human embryonic stem cells."
"We’re very excited about the implications of this," she said.
The scientists worked at UCLA’s new stem cell center, the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, created with funds from Proposition 71.
Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University and Dr. James Thompson from Wisconsin made history when they devised the new process, known as direct reprogramming.
The teams released studies in the medical journals Science and Cell that show how they were able to make adult stem cells revert to their embryonic form.
The studies confirm that human skin cells (fibroblasts) can be used to make pluripotent stem cells sharing essentially all the features of human embryonic stem cells.
Pro-life groups have welcomed the findings because they represent another alternative to destroying human life to advance science.