|Professor Rod Dunbar|
The scientists, Professor Rod Dunbar, Dr Vaughan Feisst, Dr Anna Brooks and Jenni Chen, are members of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, and the research was carried out in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Auckland.
They identified mesenchymal progenitor cells (MPCs) in the dermis, the middle layer of skin, and discovered that these could turn themselves into fat cells. This signals that they can probably become other types of cells that repair and regenerate tissue, like similar stem cells found in fat and bone marrow.
"Nobody has identified these cells before, so this opens the door to advances in both skin healing and skin diseases. Every time you find new cells with stem cell-like properties, you know you’re onto something that could have major implications
It’s a really exciting discovery. We try to avoid getting too carried away about our results because we’re constitutionally cautious - but this discovery is a pretty fundamental finding." said Professor Dunbar.