(CBS News) Scientists are reporting a stem cell breakthrough using a simple lab technique that may create reprogrammed cells after dipping them in acid for under 30 minutes.

The technique turned ordinary cells from mice into stem cells, according to the surprising new study that hints at a possible new way to grow tissue for treating illnesses like diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

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Researchers in Boston and Japan exposed cells from spleens of newborn mice to a more acidic environment that they’re used to. In lab tests, that turned them into stem cells, showing enough versatility to produce the tissues of a mouse embryo, for example.

Cells from skin, muscle, fat and other tissue of newborn mice appeared to go through the same change, which could be triggered by exposing cells to any of a variety of stressful situations, researchers said.

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