In what could be a blow to the scientific process, encouraged by Barack Obama, to destroy embryonic lives to obtain stem cell tissue, officials at Johns Hopkins have confirmed the development of a way to obtain stem cells, those basic building blocks of human life, without destroying embryonic life. “Taking a cell from an adult and converting it all the way back to when that perseon was a 6-day-old embryo creates a completely new biology toward our understanding of how cells age and what happens when things go wrong, as in cancer development,” said Elias Zambidis, an assistant professor of oncology and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering and the Kimmel Cancer Center.
In an announcement from the research center, he explained that the team on which he worked took cord blood cells, treated them with growth factors, and used plasmids to transfer four genes into them.“They then delivered an electrical pulse to the cells, making tiny holes in the surface through which the plasmids could slip inside. Once inside, the plasmids triggered the cells to revert to a more primitive cell state,” the research center reported. “The discovery could be the key to cure the incurable – from heart attacks to severed spinal cords to cancer – and open the door, some day, to eternal youth,” wrote Diaz at Gizmodo.