The UK researchers have found that sperm cells can be turned into stem cells with similar properties to embryo stem cells. Thus the invention raises hopes of a ready supply of ‘repair tissue‘ for the body.
The possibility of personalized treatment for patients arises from the ability to transform cells taken from adults back into stem cells, which can then be used for many different tissue types.
Scientists from Kings College in London used 22 separate samples from medical castrations and biopsies, and extracted ‘sperm precursor cells’ (a form of adult stem cells with a fixed role) to become a sperm cell.The resulting cells were then chemically manipulated into a state similar to those in the embryo.
Stem cell specialist Professor Robin Lovell-Badge said,
“The DNA in the stem cells in the testes lacks some important modifications that regulate the activity in certain genes, and this may affect the ability of the reprogrammed cells to make specific mature tissue types.”
However, it’s too early to draw firm conclusions as it is unclear whether the cells could be safely used in humans one day.
Source: The National Business Review