Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

Researchers Show Adult Cells Can Take on the Character of Embryonic Stem Cells

Thursday, August 17, 2006 - Stem Cell Guru

Science Daily cover the news that with the introduction of just four factors, researchers have successfully induced differentiated cells taken from mouse embryos or adult mice to behave like embryonic stem cells.

The researchers, from Kyoto University in Japan, report their findings in August's edition of the journal 'Cell'.

The cells, which the researchers designate "induced pluripotent stem cells", exhibit the physical, growth, and genetic characteristics typical of embryonic stem cells, they reported. "Pluripotent" refers to the ability to differentiate into most other cell types.

Why is this breakthrough, if repeatable using human cells, important? "Human embryonic stem cells might be used to treat a host of diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, and diabetes," said Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University in Japan. "However, there are ethical difficulties regarding the use of human embryos, as well as the problem of tissue rejection following transplantation into patients." Those problems could be circumvented if pluripotent cells could be obtained directly from the patients' own cells.

Takahashi et al.: 'Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Mouse Embryonic and Adult Fibroblast Cultures by Defined Factors' Published online August 10; Scheduled for the August 25, 2006 issue of Cell.


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