Almost perfect stem cells created in lab could allow for mass production accelerating future treatments and advances

09/19/2013 - 00:00

By Monya Baker-

Researchers have for the first time converted cultured skin cells into stem cells with near-perfect efficiency.

By removing a single protein, called Mbd3, a team at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, was able to increase the conversion rate to almost 100% — ten times that normally achieved. The discovery could clear the way for scientists to produce large volumes of stem cells on demand, hastening the development of new treatments

In 2006, scientists first showed that mature cells could be reprogrammed to act like embryonic stem cells — capable of growing indefinitely and of becoming any type of cell in the body, a property known as pluripotency. But the production of these induced pluripotent stem cells remained mysteriously inefficient.