Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine have successfully isolated stem cells from human skin, expanded them in the laboratory and coaxed them into becoming fat, muscle and bone cells. The study, one of the first studies to show the ability of a single adult stem cell to become multiple tissue types, is reported today in Stem Cells and Development.
"These cells should provide a valuable resource for tissue repair and for organs as well," said Anthony Atala, M.D., director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and senior researcher on the project. "Because these cells are taken from a patients own skin, there would not be problems with organ or tissue rejection."
The research team grew mesenchymal stem cells, a type of stem cell normally found in bone marrow. Using tissue samples from 15 donors who had routine circumcisions, the scientists were able to isolate single stem cells, which they then grew in culture dishes in the laboratory. The scientists used hormones and growth factors to coax the stem cells into becoming fat, muscle and bone cells.
Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
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