Newcastle University (England) scientists have taken a major step forward in stem cell research, putting Britain in the vanguard of technology that could produce treatments for a range of conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and spinal injuries.
A team led by Dr Miodrag Stojkovic (pictured right), based at the Centre for Life in Newcastle upon Tyne, announced that they have created a cluster of human cells, known as a blastocyst, by inserting DNA into an unfertilised human egg and inducing it to multiply.
This is the first step towards producing embryonic stem cells – master cells that can form any tissue in the body, and which could be used to repair damaged parts of the human body.
The team of University researchers work alongside the NHS-funded Life Fertility Centre at Newcastle, which supplies unfertilised eggs leftover from IVF treatment, with the consent of the donors.
The Newcastle team published details of their research simultaneously with a South Korean team’s announcement that they have produced 11 batches of stem cells containing the genes of patients.