A California biotech announced at the Stem Cell Summit in New York City on Tuesday that they have successfully reprogrammed human skin, kidney, and retina cells to a stem-cell-like state without using potentially cancer-causing retroviruses. But experts say their claims are impossible to evaluate since the work has not been peer-reviewed. The company researchers did not say these new cells produced teratomas -- the sign that cells are truly pluripotent. The company, PrimeGen Biotech based in Irvine, Ca., said it used carbon-based particles coated with DNA coding for the four transcription factors Oct3/4, SOX2, c-Myc, and Klf4, the New Scientist linkurl:reported.;http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13384-stem-cell-breakthrough-may-reduce-cancer-risk.html These are the same factors Shinya Yamanaka used with retroviruses to reprogram skin cells into stem cell-like cells linkurl:last November.;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53873/ In a statement regarding Yamanaka's paper, linkurl:Douglas Melton,;http://www.hhmi.org/research/investigators/melton_bio.html stem cell researcher at Harvard University, said that "retroviruses are a real limitation to stem cell reprogramming" because they can disrupt...

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