The bid to understand and create stem cells is very current and is a very desirable piece of knowledge many a biologist and geneticist would like to know. New articles and papers are always sprouting up, with innovative findings, which claim to shed light on the amazing properties which these cells have the ability to perform.
An article in Nature, was published in January and it reported that dipping cells in acid could convert them into stem cells. The author of this piece Prof. Teruhiko Wakayama has revoked his findings and has said that 'it is no longer clear what is right'. His findings have not been discredited, but they are currently under intense scrutiny, due a number of mistakes which have been been found throughout the article.
There are 2 different types of stem cells; adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells. These cells all have a potency to differentiate into specialised cell types. There are many different therapeutic treatments which rely on stem cells- like bone marrow transplants. Furthermore many new technologies are being developed to help treat cancer, Parkinson's disease, spinal chord injuries and Multiple Sclerosis (MS). As stem cells are only present in the human body in finite amounts, it is a race to find ways to harvest more stem cells, or alter the integrity of normal somatic cells to produce stem cells.