Press Association’s John von Radowitz, reports for British newspaper The Independent. New stem cell research suggests that vitamin C could play an essential role in the manufacture of stem cells for treating human diseases by boosting the reprogramming of adult cells.
Scientists who made the discovery believe it may help them overcome long-standing hurdles in the way of creating the reprogrammed cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). IPSCs offer a solution to the ethical problems involved in producing embryonic stem cells, with the potential to become any kind of human tissue, from bone to brain. Many experts believe iPSCs are the future of stem cell treatment, since they behave in a similar way to embryonic stem cells and are also capable of developing into a wide range of tissues.
The conversion of ordinary cells into iPSCs is highly inefficient and difficult to achieve. Often the cells age prematurely and stop dividing or may die, a process known as senescence. Adding vitamin C to the cell cultures was found to hold back senescence and make reprogramming much more efficient.