TORONTO, March 2 (UPI) -- Canadian scientists say they've created a new method of making stem cells that might lead to cures for such diseases as diabetes and macular degeneration.
Researchers led by Dr. Andras Nagy at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital said their achievement accelerates stem cell technology and provides a "road map" for new clinical approaches to regenerative medicine.
"We hope that these stem cells will form the basis for treatment for many diseases and conditions that are currently considered incurable," said Nagy. "This new method of generating stem cells does not require embryos as starting points and could be used to generate cells from many adult tissues such as a patient's own skin cells."
The new technology creates stem cells that can develop into most other cell types without disrupting healthy genes. Previous approaches required the use of viruses and therefore risked damaging DNA. Nagy said his method doesn't require viruses and so overcomes a major hurdle for the future of safe, personalized stem cell therapies in humans.
The research, funded by the Canadian Stem Cell Network and the U.S. Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, appears in the online issue of the journal Nature.