Friday, August 22, 2008

JJNN Friday: Technology - 04

Welcome again to JJNN for Friday August 22nd, 2008. Today we will be taking about a new stem cell technology.

Way back on June 6th I told you about a news story in which the Japanese government was thinking about making a stem cell bank. I gave the basic description of stem cells there so if you want to please give it another read though. Today's news story is a step close to making that stem cell bank becoming a reality. The original story can be found here.

A group from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology with the help of a professor from Kyoto University have succeeded in iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells out of a removed wisdom tooth. Skin cells were made using the iPS cells from the wisdom tooth.

This is a huge step towards Japan actually making this iPS cell bank. Just think about the possibilities. Almost everyone gets their wisdom teeth taken out at a young age. Instead of throwing away the wisdom tooth, like they do now, it can be shipped to a central processing unit with all of your information. Later, if you ever get in an accident or sick, doctors can take your old tooth and make things like skin or organs. The possibilities are really endless.

At this moment the process for making iPS cells can only be done on the wisdom tooth. The scientists want to expand their process so they can making iPS cells from the teeth of adults or even baby teeth. If they can pull that off, the possibilities are really endless.

Any way, it is now time for the word of the day. Today's word is 親知らず(親知らず). It is pronounced oya-shirazu and means wisdom tooth. If you translate it literally it means someone (or thing) that does no know their parent. It is called that because they pop up at a different time than the rest of the teeth. I don't really get it by I just nod and smile.

That's it for today. See you next time at JJNN.

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