SYDNEY, Australia – A new type of stem cell—that is, a cell with regenerative abilities—could be closer on the horizon, a new study led by an Australian University shows.

The  (called induced , or iMS) can be made from easily accessible human cells—in this case, fat—and reprogrammed to act as stem cells.

The results of the animal study, which created  and tested their effectiveness in mice, were published online in Science Advances today—and while the results are encouraging, more research and tests are needed before any potential translation to human therapies.

The scientists created the iMS cells in a lab by exposing human fat cells to a compound mixture that caused the cells to lose their original identity. This process also erased ‘silencing marks’ – marks responsible for restricting cell identity.

The researchers injected the human iMS cells into mice where they stayed dormant—at first. But, when the mice had an injury, the stem cells adapted to their surroundings and transformed into the tissue that needed repairing, be it muscle, bone, cartilage, or blood vessels.

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