Hopes Soar for Burn Victims as 'Mother' of All Skin Cells Found
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13 March 2010
Scientists have found the “mother”, or origin, of all skin cells and say their discovery could dramatically improve skin treatments for victims of wounds and burns.
Hans Clevers and a team of Dutch and Swedish researchers conducted a study in mice and found that Lrg6, the stem cell that produces all the different cells of the skin, actually lives in hair follicles.
The findings, which they say will translate for human use, mean it may be possible to harness these stem cells to help with wound repair or skin transplants for burns victims, they said in a study in the Science journal on Thursday.
The skin has three different populations of cells – hair follicles, moisturizing sebaceous glands, and the tissue in between, known as the interfollicular epidermis.
Stem cells are original cells, or drivers, from which all human cells develop.
Clevers said the advantage offered by the “mother” stem cell finding would be that they could grow skin from its original basis – allowing it to be “real new skin” with moisture from sebaceous glands and the ability to grow hair. He said experts now need to learn how to isolate the Lrg6 cells from human skin.