09 Apr '11, 10am

Virus-free method to turn blood cells into 'beating' heart cells developed #stemcells

Washington , April 9 (ANI): Johns Hopkins scientists have developed a new virus-free method that they say can be used to turn blood cells into heart cells more safely. They claimed the method is simple, cheaper, all-purpose and produces heart cells that beat with nearly 100 percent efficiency. To get stem cells taken from one source (such as blood) and develop them into a cell of another type (such as heart), scientists generally use viruses to deliver a package of genes into cells to, first, get them to turn into stem cells. However, viruses can mutate genes and initiate cancers in newly transformed cells. To insert the genes without using a virus, Elias Zambidis, assistant professor of oncology and pediatrics, and his colleagues turned to plasmids, rings of DNA that replicate briefly inside cells and eventually degrade. The process began with Johns Hopkins postdoctoral s...

Full article: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/virus-free-method-turn-blood-cel...

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