The researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute said the new cells could be used to create better cellular models of disease processes and eventually might permit repair of disease-associated gene mutations.
"It has been fairly easy to manipulate stem cells from mice, but this has not been the case for traditional human stem cells," said Assistant Professor Niels Geijsen, who led the study. "We had previously found that the growth factors in which mouse stem cells are derived define what those cells can do, and now we've applied those findings to human stem cells."
The research that included scientists from the University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Imperial College London, is reported in the June 4 issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell.
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