Cells Harvested From Human Urine Used to Make Stem Cells


Biologists in China have published a study detailing how they transformed common cells found in human urine into neural stem cells that can be used to create neurons and glial brain cells. The find holds huge potential for the rapid testing and development of new treatments for neurodegenerative disorders.

The team, from the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health, had announced in 2011 that it had successfully reprogrammed skin-like cells from the kidneys, found in urine, into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. These iPS cells can be tweaked to become pretty much any human cell in the body; however the traditional technique prompting this transformation — inserting pluripotent genes into the blanket cells via a genetically engineered retrovirus — has its flaws. It seems the presence of the retrovirus leads to a destabilisation of the genome, rendering it unpredictable, susceptible to mutations and thus a liability.

Stem cell biologist Duanqing Pei and his team opted for another route, that they claim presents a safer, faster alternative. Having extracted kidney epithelial cells from the urine of three donors aged 10, 25 and 37, the team used vectors — a type of DNA molecule useful in transporting genetic information from cell to cell — to transport the information without having to integrate the new genes into the chromosome of the kidney cell, something that is presumed to be partly to blame for the aforementioned mutations.

In one experiment the pluripotent stem cells formed in Petri dishes after 12 days, which is about half the time it normally takes for them to form. These cultured cells soon took on the shape of neural rosettes and were deemed to be neural progenitor cells — a precursor to a fully blown neural cell. Eventually these neural progenitor cells were cultured to become neurons and astrocyte and oligodendrocyte glial cells.

Written By: Liat Clark
continue to source article at wired.com


  1.  I’m not knowledgeable enough to know if this is a valid idea.
    But stem cells from piss?

    Science rocks!!!!!

  2. my apes have been converting brain cells to piss for years now. about time someone learned how to reverse the process

  3. That image looks like it could be a ‘Jackson Pollock Christmas’,
    or a holly bush on acid.

  4.  Pluripotent, not totipotent.

    So an advance but still the totipotent cell must be taken from embryos and there is the religious objection again. Fortunately that objection seems to be weakening and work like this that produces pluripotent cells is contributing to that weakening objection.

  5.  That’s a really good point.

    History suggests the response will be fewer subscribe to that argument while an ardent few up the ante and pronounce urine sacred.

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