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Stem cells acid: Shocking blood with acid can create cells, 'fast and cheaply'

A stem cells acid study is being called a breakthrough of modern medicine this week after stem cell researchers in Japan have asserted that by submerging — or shocking — blood cells into acid, they can essentially create stem cells. This method is said to be a “fast and cheap” way in which human health can be personalized, and is even being called the herald of new, tailored-to-you care. BBC News reveals this Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, that while information on this major scientific discovery is still being examined in these early stages, the new technology could make a massive impact on stem cells’ influence in life in future years.

Photo of stem cells under a microscope
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The stem cells acid research is being conducted by Japanese experts who have recently discovered that by simply dipping specific cells of blood into an acid mixture, they can in fact “make” stem cells for use. These stem cells may then transform into a variety of material tissue, and are currently under trial study for healing various organs and body parts, including the human brain, heart, and eyeballs.

Information on this breakthrough development was published this week in the “Nature” journal, citing that the shocking stem cell discovery might help the technology of such personalized medicine become “safe, cheaper … and much faster.”

While the average human body is composed of a number of important cells that all of specific, designated roles — ranging from muscle cells to nerve cells — stem cells have the transformative ability to “morph” into any other type of cell, and for years now have been a massive branch of research in health for their capability to heal and restore tissues. Embryos are often highlighted in modern discussion as a controversial source of these stem cells.

According to the press release on the stem cells acid finding, blood plays a major role in their creation through the form of an acid bath:

“A new study shows that shocking blood cells with acid could also trigger the transformation into stem cells - this time termed STAP (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency) cells.

Dr. Haruko Obokata, from the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology in Japan, said she was ‘really surprised’ that cells could respond to their environment in this way.”

She noted in her report:

"It's exciting to think about the new possibilities these findings offer us, not only in regenerative medicine, but cancer as well."

While initial details on this research was achieved through studies on mice and their blood cells, the examination is also proving effective with similar results when using human blood. A professor at the University College London has even said that the discovery means “personalized medicine would have finally arrived” if fully successful.

"I thought - 'my God that's a game changer!' It's a very exciting, but surprise, finding … It looks a bit too good to be true, but the number of experts who have reviewed and checked this, I'm sure that it is,” the life and health expert said to BBC. "If this works in people as well as it does in mice, it looks faster, cheaper and possibly safer than other cell reprogramming technologies - personalized reprogrammed cell therapies may now be viable."

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