Experts claim better stem cell methods

Updated: 2011-10-19 11:19

(China Daily/Agencies)

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British scientists have developed a new stem cell technique for growing working liver cells that could eventually avoid the need for costly and risky liver transplants.

A team of researchers led by the Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge used cutting-edge methods to correct a genetic mutation in stem cells derived from a patient's skin biopsy, and then grew them into fresh liver cells.

By putting the new liver cells into mice, they showed they were fully functioning.

"We have developed new systems to target genes and ... correct ... defects in patient cells," says Allan Bradley, director of the Sanger Institute.

At a briefing about the work, Bradley says the technique - the first success of its kind - leaves behind no trace of the genetic manipulation, except for the gene correction.

"These are early steps, but if this technology can be taken into treatment, it will offer great possible benefits for patients," he adds.