The journal Cellular Reprogramming has revealed a Mount Sinai School of Medicine study showing that skin cells found in human amniotic fluid can be reprogrammed, after which the cells were identical to human embryonic stem cells.
"We induced amniotic fluid skin cells to return from their final differentiated stage back to an undifferentiated stem cell stage from where they can develop into any cell type of the body," said the study’s lead author, Dr. Katalin Polgar, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Cardiology and Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science, Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
Just as exciting, when compared with cultured adult skin cells, the amniotic cells created cell colonies nearly twice as quickly and in nearly 200% greater volume. Polgar goes on to state, "There remains today a need in stem cell research for an easily reprogrammable cell type. Our study shows that reprogramming of cultured, terminally differentiated amniotic fluid cells results in pluripotent stem cells that are identical to human embryonic stem cells, and that it is much easier, faster and more efficient than reprogramming neonatal and adult cells." This can help fill the need for stem cells desperately needed for research and development of new regenerative therapies, such as for heart, liver, kidney and other organs; replacement of neurons in patients suffering with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and even in the creation of treatments through the use of personalized stem cells banks.
Dr. Polgar states that using stem cells from amniotic fluid could reduce the need for testing drugs on animals and can help personalize the delivery of medications. "Their potential use in toxicology models could reduce the need for experimental animals.”
"These reprogrammed amniotic fluid cells have the ability to self-renew indefinitely. Pluripotent stem cells created from amniotic fluid cells shed from the fetal skin maintain all the potential of embryonic stem cells without using embryos, thereby eliminating ethical concerns associated with human embryonic stem cells obtained from preimplantation embryos," Dr. Polgar said.