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Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

Where Science Meets Society

New understanding to reprogramming cells holds medical promise

Understanding barriers to reprogramming cells holds promise for regenerative medicine

The recent discovery that human somatic cells (the cells of the body) can be reprogrammed in the laboratory to generate pluripotent stem cells has enormous implications for regenerative medicine, a relatively young branch of biomedical research that could lead to revolutionary treatments for many chronic diseases, including cancer.

New Technique First Step to Stem Cell Specialization

The gap between stem cell research and regenerative medicine just became a lot narrower, thanks to a new technique that coaxes stem cells, with potential to become any tissue type, to take the first step to specialization. It is the first time this critical step has been demonstrated in a laboratory.

University of Illinois researchers, in collaboration with scientists at Notre Dame University and the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, published their results in the journal Nature Communications.

Researchers Work to Put Stem Cells in Their Place

Hyunjoon Kong, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and member of the Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering research theme, with Chemistry Professor Steve Zimmerman and Professor and Vice President for Research Dr. Larry Schook are developing a polymer coating that could help an individual's stem cells target inflamed cells to regrow healthy tissue and calm inflammation. Their research has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

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