Oregon Health and Science University announced Wednesday that researchers have for the first time successfully converted human skin cells into embryonic stem cells.
OHSU associate professor, Paula Amato, says researchers have reprogrammed the cells so they’re capable of transforming into any other cell type in the body.
“So for example if somebody has had a heart attack and has damaged heart cells. You could theoretically develop heart cells from these stem cells that are genetically identical to the patient with the heart disease. And then potentially inject or implant those cells into the heart muscle to replace the damaged cells,” Amato says.
The research is controversial because it involves destroying human embryos and uses cloning techniques that could lead to the cloning of people.
The work was done at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. The research is published in the journal Cell.