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Regenerative cell therapy might be around the corner

Mainstream regenerative tissue therapy may be available sooner than previously thought and may be more affordable once it arrives thanks to a major local breakthrough.

A group of international scientists led by Dr Andras Nagy, a researcher at Mount Sinai hospital, announced last week that they had discovered the process by which a specialized cell can be reprogrammed into a stem cell.

A byproduct of this discovery is that the group also discovered a new stem cell type. According to Dr Nagy, this new so-called F-type has slightly different properties compared to the types he and his colleagues were previously familiar with. He says these new F-type cells are faster, easier and less expensive to grow in a lab compared to regular embryonic-like stem cells. Once a process for growing these F-type cells is perfected, it could take days or hours to grow them compared the several weeks it takes to grow stem cells currently.

Taken together, these two discoveries may soon enable doctors to create “designer” cells that do no exist in the body, but that are safe and efficient when used to cure a disease.

Eric Hoskins, Ontario's Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, said, in a press release following the announcement, “Stem cell research was pioneered here in the province, and I am proud that we continue to make world-class breakthroughs in this life-saving area of research."

Indeed, those following Yonge Street over the the last couple of weeks will know that the Government of Ontario recently announced $3-million toward the creation of the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine. To date, the provincial government has invested $150-million into stem cell research, no doubt hoping for exactly this kind of breakthrough.

Source: Mount Sinai
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