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Israeli researchers convert human skin cells into placenta cells

The study could lead to treatments for fertility issues and pregnancy complications.

Placenta multinucleated cells. Credit: Moriyah Naama/Buganim Lab.
Placenta multinucleated cells. Credit: Moriyah Naama/Buganim Lab.

In a breakthrough for understanding fertility and pregnancy issues, Israeli scientists have converted human skin cells into functional human placenta cells.

Professor Yossi Buganim and his research team at the Faculty of Medicine at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem published their study in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications.

The placenta is an organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy and provides nutrients and oxygen to a baby. The umbilical cord is attached to the placenta. The breakthrough research provides an unlimited supply of cells for studying the function of the placenta.

This breakthrough could open up new avenues to solving pregnancy problems by using skin cells from women with pregnancy complications that contain the same genetic makeup as their placenta cells. 

Moriyah Naama and Moran Rahamim
Dr. Moriyah Naama (right) and Moran Rahamim. Courtesy of Moriyah Naama/Buganim Lab.

The project was led by Dr. Moriyah Naama, an MD/PhD program participant at the Hebrew University, in collaboration with Moran Rahamim, a PhD student, and other members of the Buganim lab.

“The findings of this study hold significant promise for advancing our understanding of pregnancy development, infertility, and pregnancy-related diseases,” the Hebrew University said in a statement.

“They have the potential to revolutionize research on placental pathologies and genetic causes, leading to improved diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions.”

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