Unlocking Secret to Making Stem Cells

by Erin Allday ,  San Francisco Chronicle | 2012-10-19

In 2005, when Dr. Bruce Conklin realized what his former colleague was attempting to do with stem cells, he remembers thinking: better him than me.

"I knew what he was up to, using genes to make stem cells. But I thought it was a crazy idea. I was thinking, 'I'm glad someone's trying it, but I'm glad it's not me,' " Conklin said with a laugh.

His colleague was Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, who had worked with Conklin at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco as a postgraduate scientist in the '90s. Yamanaka was indeed trying to manufacture stem cells by genetically modifying adult cells. And he succeeded.

In 2006, a year after hinting to Conklin what he was working on, Yamanaka published a striking paper in the journal Cell, outlining in detail how he'd managed to transform a skin cell from a mouse into a stem cell. From there, he showed that the stem cell could be coaxed into becoming any other type of cell in the body.

A year later, Yamanaka used the same technique to create human stem cells. And the world of stem cell research has been forever transformed, scientists say.

Related Medical Tourism News
Focus Area
Free Call