German Scientists claim to have transformed testicular cells obtained from male mice into embryonic stem cells, biological building blocks that have the remarkable ability to transform into other cell types.
This research led to the belief the same could be achieved in humans, helping settle down the controversy associated with the derivation of embryonic stem cells from unused embryos, created through specialized reproductive techniques.
If the presence of such starter cells in the testes of men is established, it could even pave way for growing new tissues and organs from the derived cells, and transplanting the tissues into patients with organ failure.
At the moment, it is not known if women too have similar properties. If so, their own cells can be harvested and manipulated to treat diseases.
Although some argue that it might not be possible to observe the same effect in humans, it is indeed true that it can sow the seeds for a new therapeutic strategy. It adds optimism to the fascinating field of stem cell therapy and research. It might alteast be possible to completely cure certain diseases in mice, that have the potential to be transferred to humans.
'The major caveat is that this was done in mice, and unfortunately we're starting to learn there really is a difference between mouse and human,' concluded Dr. Evan Snyder, Director, Stem cell program, Burnham Institute.