Johns Hopkins researchers have successfully returned blood cells back to their original stem cell state. The researchers have managed to created a “super efficient, virus-free way to make iPS cells, overcoming a persistent difficulty for scientists working with these cells in the laboratory. Generally, out of hundreds of blood cells, only one or two might turn into iPS cells. Using Zambidis’ method, 50 to 60 percent of blood cells were engineered into iPS cells.”
Stem cells can be turned into any other type of cell in the body. They have traditionally been a very controversial issue people assume they can only be harvested in reasonable quantities from fetuses or umbilical cords. TIME Magazine reports:
Fertility clinics destroy far more human embryos than stem-cell research ever would, yet they are not controversial. Death or deep freeze is the fate of any embryo spared by the Bush policy from the indignity of contributing to medical progress.