German researchers have discovered that cells from the testes of adult mice that normally turn into sperm can be transformed into different types of tissue, including liver, heart, muscle, skin, pancreas and nerve cells.
Dr Gerd Hasenfuss, of Georg-August University in Gottingen, said his team had begun studying the cells from testes in men and he was optimistic of getting similar results. If the findings are repeated in people, the cells could produce tissue that was a perfect match for a patient without the ethical and immunological problems associated with human embryonic stem cells.
The chairman of the National Committee of Medicine of the Australian Academy of Science, Professor Bob Williamson, said that the find was just one more piece in a growing body.
Last year Australian researchers showed stem cells from the nose can turn into nerve, heart, liver, kidney and muscle cells.