May 28, 2024

More progress with reprogrammed cells

Yamanaka’s latest research allays fears of tumours

More progress on the reprogrammed stem cell front. The Japanese
scientist who discovered last year how to create cells with the same
potentiality as embryonic stem cells has just published another
important article in the leading journal Science.
It had been feared that these induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS
cells) would cause cancer, but Shinya Yamanaka (pictured) has now shown that this
is unlikely, at least in some cases.

His team reprogrammed adult
mouse cells into iPS cells by introducing three new genes with a
retrovirus. Mice injected with these cells have remained cancer-free
for six months. Yamanaka’s breakthrough experiment reprogrammed skin
cells, but this paper focused on liver and stomach lining cells. It is
still far too early for clinical applications, says Dr Takashi Aoi, one
of Yamanaka’s colleagues. “In order to apply this technology to
clinics, we still have to study the safety of iPS cells in bigger
animals such as monkeys. It will take years to do this.” ~ London
Telegraph, Feb 14