Human skin has provided scientists with a major breakthrough in stem cell research, avoiding the controversial use of human embryos. It means a potentially plentiful new source of cells for use in finding treatments for deadly diseases. Geneticist Axel Kahn, said: “Future research into diseases of the brain or the heart will involve taking skin cells from patients and transforming them into cells identical to those in the ailing brain or heart, in order to treat them or perhaps even find a cure.”
Currently, stem cells are produced via cloning techniques, or directly from human eggs or embryos. But some campaigners say this is unethical. The two groups of scientists at the centre of the development, one in the US and the other in Japan, agree it could be the boost medical science has been waiting for.