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Scientists make new stem cell finding

RESEARCHERS in the United States said on Tuesday they had made a type of nerve cell out of ordinary skin cells in a new approach to stem cell research.

They made motor neurons out of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells - a type of cell made from ordinary skin cells that resembles human embryonic stem cells.

Scientists hope that iPS cells might offer a substitute for embryonic stem cells and a short-cut to tailored medical therapy for a range of diseases.

Motor neurons make muscles contract, and being able to make new motor neurons might help treat diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, the team at the University of California Los Angeles reported.

"IPS-derived cells appeared to follow a normal developmental progression associated with motor neuron formation," they wrote in the journal Stem Cells.

They looked like neurons taken from human embryonic stem cells, the researchers added.

Stem cells are the body's master cells, and a type taken from days-old embryos, called embryonic stem cells, have the ability to morph into any cell or tissue type in the body.


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