New stem cell technique may aid medical treatments

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Researchers have found that a simple lab treatment can turn ordinary cells from mice into stem cells.

The surprising new study that's being described in the journal Nature hints at a possible new way to grow tissue for treating illnesses like diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

Researchers in Boston and Japan exposed cells from spleens of newborn mice into a more acidic environment than they are used to. In lab tests, that turned them into stem cells -- with enough versatility to produce the tissues of a mouse embryo, for example.

Scientists hope to harness stem cells to replace defective tissue in a wide variety of diseases. By making stem cells from the patient, they can get around the problem of transplant rejection.

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