May 22, 2024

Reprogrammed stem cells may be limited, researchers say

Setback for regenerative medicine

Stem cells derived from reprogramming adult
cells may have limited usefulness as an alternative to embryonic stem cells,
leading researchers said this week.

The study found that induced pluripotent
stem cells, which have been the darling of stem cell scientists for the past
couple of years, retain a “memory” of their original adult tissue. This may
make it difficult to convert them to other cell types for medical treatment, say
researchers from Harvard and Johns Hopkins. The findings were published online
in Nature. Similar results from other Harvard researchers were published in
Nature Biotechnology.

This could be a setback for regenerative
medicine because iPS cells are a promising and ethical uncontroversial
alternative for embryonic stem cells. However, researchers have already begun
finding ways around the limits that the study has identified, so that the iPS
cells could still be used for treating illnesses such as diabetes and
Parkinson’s disease.

“It’s a challenge to be understood and
overcome,” George Daley, a researcher at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and
Children’s Hospital in Boston and lead author of the Nature study, told Bloomberg
. “We already have strategies for overcoming this.” ~Bloomberg
Businessweek, Jul 19

Jared Yee
stem cells