Amid the political controversy and obstructions to conducting stem cell research, scientists this year managed to turn lead into gold… Genetically manipulating fibroblasts to become ESC(embryonic stem cell)-like sort of sounds like alchemy in a way, doesn’t it? The product of these papers, inducible pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, were created by transfecting four factors into fibroblasts, Oct3/4, Sox2, c-Myc, and Klf4, and they found that the epigenetic, morphological, and proliferative characteristics resembled those of embryonic stem cells.
Shinya Yamanaka, one of the lead researchers involved, wrote a comprehensive review of this cellular alchemy for Cell Stem Cell: Strategies and New Developments in the Generation of Patient-Specific Pluripotent Stem Cells.
The importance of these discoveries cannot be overstated. By ‘reprogramming’ regular cells into stem-like cells, and moving towards a technique that doesn’t inadvertently cause cancer, the expenses, difficulties, and controversies of regenerative therapy with stem cells are greatly reduced.
- Yamanaka S. Strategies and New Developments in the Generation of Patient-Specific Pluripotent Stem Cells. Cell Stem Cell (2007) 1:39-49. DOI:10.1016/j.stem.2007.05.012
- Okita K, Ichisaka T, Yamanaka S. Nature (2007) 448:313-317. DOI:10.1038/nature05934
- Wernig M, et al. Nature (2007) 448:318-324. DOI:10.1038/nature05944
- Maherali N, et al. Cell Stem Cell (2007) DOI:10.1016/j.stem.2007.05.014
- Hanna J, et al. Science (2007) [accepted] DOI:10.1126/science.1152092
- Nakagawa M, et al. Nature Biotechnology (2007) [accepted] DOI:10.1038/nbt1374