Using induced pluripotent stem cells, scientists can better study human disease

Apr 21, 2013

Rudolf Jaenisch of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology will speak at EB 2013 on the topic of stem cells, pluripotency and nuclear reprogramming. His work has led to major advances in our understanding of embryonic stem cells and "induced pluripotent stem" (IPS) cells, which appear identical to embryonic stem cells but can be created from adult cells without using an egg. Dr. Jaenisch will discuss the mechanism of in vitro reprogramming and the inefficiency of gene targeting on Sunday, April 21at 2:30 pm at the meeting of the American Association of Anatomists at Experimental Biology.

The stem cell field is no stranger to controversy and has become widely discussed for the cells' ability to generate any cell type. They offer a new way to study human development. "The greatest interest in using stem cells is for disease research," said Jaenisch. "In the late 1990s when Dolly was cloned, it was called therapeutic cloning. It is considered controversial for using and is technically difficult. With IPS cells, we now have a way to study the pathogenesis of disease in , without human eggs."

According to Jaenisch, where Dolly was a theoretical solution, we now have new technology that makes it possible to move into application. IPS cells will allow scientists to study complex human diseases in Petri dishes, a step toward analyzing the conditions and developing therapies.

Another potential benefit from IPS cells is to use them for transplantation into a patient to cure disease possibly. "We can likely find a way to reduce the risk of organ/. We can also correct mutations in IPS cells," he added, which gives researchers one less complicating factor.

Jaenisch received his doctorate in medicine from the University of Munich in 1967. Before coming to Whitehead, he was head of the Department of Tumor Virology at the Heinrich Pette Institute at the University of Hamburg. He has coauthored more than 375 research papers and has received numerous prizes and recognitions, including an appointment to the National Academy of Sciences in 2003. He received the 2011 National Medal of Science.

Explore further: Tarantula toxin is used to report on electrical activity in live cells

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Not all cellular reprogramming is created equal

Dec 01, 2011

Tweaking the levels of factors used during the reprogramming of adult cells into induced pluriopotent stem (iPS) cells greatly affects the quality of the resulting iPS cells, according to Whitehead Institute researchers.

Recipe for cell reprogramming adds protein

Aug 06, 2008

A drug-like molecule called Wnt can be substituted for the cancer gene c-Myc, one of four genes added to adult cells to reprogram them to an embryonic-stem-cell-like state, according to Whitehead researchers. Researchers ...

Stem cells reverse disease in a model of Parkinson's disease

May 16, 2011

In a new study to be published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers compared the ability of cells derived from different types of human stem cell to reverse disease in a rat model of Parkinson disease and id ...

Recommended for you

Reading a biological clock in the dark

10 hours ago

Our species' waking and sleeping cycles – shaped in millions of years of evolution – have been turned upside down within a single century with the advent of electric lighting and airplanes. As a result, ...

Scientists see how plants optimize their repair

Oct 20, 2014

Researchers led by a Washington State University biologist have found the optimal mechanism by which plants heal the botanical equivalent of a bad sunburn. Their work, published in the Proceedings of the Na ...

User comments : 0