By coaxing healthy and diseased human bone marrow to become embryonic-like stem cells, a team of Wisconsin scientists has laid the groundwork for observing the onset of the blood cancer leukemia in the laboratory dish.
"This is the first successful reprogramming of blood cells obtained from a patient with leukemia," says University of Wisconsin-Madison stem cell researcher Igor Slukvin, who directed a study aimed at generating all-purpose stem cells from bone marrow and umbilical cord blood. "We were able to turn the diseased cells back into pluripotent stem cells. This is important because it provides a new model for the study of cancer cells.
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