A publication in Nature journal on Jan.29 states that researchers have developed a process to create stem cells by purposely putting mature mice cells under stress.
Researchers are calling this process STAP, which stands for “stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency.” The process starts by taking mature cells from mice and turning them into embryonic-like stem cells. These cells are placed in an acidic environment and can be coaxed into becoming any other kind of cell.
This new breakthrough in stem cell research helps develop therapies to repair bodily damage and cure disease by being able to insert cells that can grow into tissues or organs. Researchers are estimating that this process will be five to ten times faster than other reprogramming cell methods.
The STAP method does not involve the destruction of embryos or inserting new genetic material into cells. This process also avoids the issue of rejection because it uses an individual’s own mature cells as opposed to cells coming from other people.
The STAP procedure has only been demonstrated in the cells of young mice. The risks and effectiveness in humans is still unknown. Researchers estimate that the process could be clinically tested in humans within the next three years.