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.
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
I have been fortunate enough that in my career to date I have rarely experienced the problem of other people stealing my reagents. However, one PI told me of her experiences working in a US laboratory where things had got so bad people brought their reagents home at the weekends! Working in a research laboratory […]
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