SCIENCE: Can Vinegar Make Stem Cells?

OSAKA, Jan. 30 (Xinhua)– Researchers at an institute in Kobe City, western Japan discovered a new method for creating pluripotent cells in mice by simply exposing body cells to acidic liquids, and the cells can be reprogrammed to grow into any type of mature tissue, local media reported on Thursday.

According to several local media reports including the one by Japan’s Kyodo News Agency, a team of scientists at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe soaked lymph corpuscle taken from 7-day-old mice into mildly acidic liquids for about 30 minutes and cultured them to transplant into mice, where they developed into nerve and muscle tissues.

The report said that the research group in the city, which is led by 30-year-old Haruko Obokata, who had spent some time researching at Harvard University in the United States, named its discovery “stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency,” or STAP, and the mew method was announced in the British journal Nature on Wednesday.

The report noted that although STAP cells have similar qualities to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are created by putting genes into cells, they can be produced within a shorter period of time than iPS cells, which can take several weeks to produce.

Concerning the discovery, the report by Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK) , Japan’s public broadcaster, meanwhile, cited Professor Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, who won a Nobel Prize in 2012, as saying that the new announcement from the Kobe institute is interesting and it can be seen as a new method to create iPS-like cells for potential medical application.

Since the successful creation of STAP cells was only possible in mice, the reports added that Obokata and her team will further study whether STAP cells can be produced also with human cells, so that the STAP cells could be used in new procedures for regenerative medicine.

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