Scientific Developments in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Jun 05, 2009   

This week has seen the publication of two reports of groundbreaking results in the field of stem cell research.

 

Scientists at San Diego Californias Salk Institute for Biological Studies have published a report in Nature describing the creation of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.  Dr. Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmontes team applied gene therapy techniques to correct defective cells from patients afflicted with Fanconi anemia.  The team reports that the created iPS cells are indistinguishable from human embryonic stem cells.  Although the research has not yet been used in humans, the iPS cells create hope that such correction might be done to the diseased cells of Fanconi anemia patients. Upon correction, the cells could be reintroduced to the patient, without risk of rejection, to rid the patient of the affliction.

 

Chinese Scientists at the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology have created iPS cells adaptable to the human body from the tissue of pigs.  Similarly, the iPS cells resulting from the Chinese teams procedure are identical to embryonic stem cells.  Researchers believe that these results accomplish a necessary step towards the use of pigs to generate human-compatible organs.  Some also think this research could enable human-like simulations of human diseases and thus a platform for drug and biologic testing which would be as much like a human clinical trial as possible.

 

View the reports here:
http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/nature08129.pdf

http://jmcb.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/mjp003