Immortal cells that can generate new tissue and fix damaged organs? Sounds like a sci-fi movie.

But researchers at Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory in Bar Harbor are now looking at “germ” cells as a source of potential medical treatments, the lab said Wednesday in a news release. The cells, precursors to human sperm and eggs, are considered immortal because they are the only ones in the body with the potential to create an entirely new organism.

And they could offer a new approach to promoting tissue regeneration in organs damaged by disease or injury.

The research into germ cells contrasts with another approach in recent years, which focuses on stem cell therapies that reprogram the body’s own cells to replace damaged tissue. That’s a complicated process because it involves turning genes in the cell’s nucleus on and off. Read more