New method for generating human stem cells is remarkably efficient

Sep 30, 2010

The ability to efficiently generate patient-specific stem cells from differentiated cells and then reliably direct them to form specialized cells (like neurons or muscle) has tremendous therapeutic potential for replacing diseased or damaged tissues. However, despite some successes, there have been significant limitations associated with existing methods used to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

Now, a study published by Cell Press on September 30th in the journal Cell Stem Cell presents a novel strategy for creating iPSCs that exhibits some significant advantages when compared with current iPSC technologies. The new method does not require risky and holds great promise for making the reprogramming process more therapeutically relevant.

"Clinical application of iPSCs is currently hampered by low efficiency of iPSC generation and protocols that permanently alter the genome to effect cellular reprogramming," explains senior study author, Dr. Derrick J. Rossi from Harvard Medical School. "Perhaps even more importantly, safe and effective means of directing the fate of patient-specific iPS cells towards clinically useful cell types are lacking."

In the current study, Dr. Rossi and colleagues did not take the standard approach to permanently alter the to achieve expression of protein factors known to reprogram adult cells into iPSCs. Instead, they developed synthetic modified molecules (which they termed "modified RNAs") that encoded the appropriate proteins but did not integrate into the cell's DNA.

Repeated administration of the modified RNAs resulted in robust expression of the reprogramming proteins in mature skin cells that were then converted to iPSCs with startling efficiency. "We weren't really expecting the modified RNAs to work so effectively, but the reprogramming efficiencies we observed with our approach were very high," says Dr. Rossi.

Importantly, the modified RNA method was also used to successfully to control the fate of the iPSCs. "Creation of iPSCs is the critical first step towards patient-specific therapies, but to truly realize the promise of iPS cell technology for regenerative medicine or disease modeling, we must harness the potential of iPS cells to generate clinically useful cell types," notes Dr. Rossi. RNA-induced iPSCs with an RNA associated with muscle cell development caused the cells to differentiate into muscle cells —again simply, efficiently and without the immediate risk of inducing genetic mutations.

These findings demonstrate that the novel RNA-induced iPSC technology offers significant advantages over existing methodologies. "Our technology represents a safe, efficient strategy for somatic cell reprogramming and directing cell fate that has wide ranging applicability for basic research, disease modeling and regenerative medicine," concludes Dr. Rossi. "We believe that our approach has the potential to become a major and perhaps even central enabling technology for cell-based therapies."

Explore further: Blocking a fork in the road to DNA replication

More information: Cell Stem Cell: http://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/home
Information on iPS cells: http://bit.ly/dvGaqN

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User comments : 9

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Quantum_Conundrum
1.8 / 5 (5) Sep 30, 2010
See there atheists. No baby murdering required.
blazingspark
1 / 5 (1) Sep 30, 2010
See there atheists. No baby murdering required.
Is this some kind of joke? Or are you yet another deluded American Christian fundamentalist...

Excuse me while I finish my baby brain smoothy!
marjon
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 30, 2010
One wonders how far adult stem cell research would have progressed if they unfettered access to embryos.
ricarguy
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 01, 2010
@ Marjon
Adult stem cell research likely would have been less. There would have been less need for adult cell research and definitely less money for it. Total research dollars from taxpayers which is allocated by congress would be the same. If those dollars were directed to research based on fetal stem cells, there would be less for research on adult stem cells.

Whether via ethically compromised means or not, the train of research using stem cells is still moving forward. Remember the recent lawsuit against using baby stem cells was forwarded by a group of researchers themselves, and was later joined by the "religious" groups.
trekgeek1
3.7 / 5 (3) Oct 01, 2010
See there atheists. No baby murdering required.


So you believe that atheists were the supporters of embryonic stem cell research? I guess that makes sense since it's smart and well thought out. However, I'm sure there were people of other religions supporting it as well. But I guess to you, atheist=baby killer=democrat=socialist. They're all the same, right? I'm no biologist, buy I'm pretty sure that embryonic cells possess attributes that adult stem cells do not have.
marjon
3 / 5 (2) Oct 01, 2010
I'm pretty sure that embryonic cells possess attributes that adult stem cells do not have.

That was well reasoned and thought out?
Where is the data?
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (1) Oct 02, 2010
But I guess to you, atheist=baby killer=democrat=socialist. They're all the same, right? I'm no biologist, buy I'm pretty sure that embryonic cells possess attributes that adult stem cells do not have.


Actually, there are no real differences. We've seen this time and again, every time the embryonic crowd claims something can't be done without them, the adult stem cell crowd proves it can be done.

===
Socialism isn't a bad thing in principle. The Bible is actually very socialistic, though you won't hear that from the vast majority of "Conservatives". Don't believe me? Read up on the year of Jubilee, and read the book of Ruth, and then read the book of Acts in the New Testament.

In terms of fiscal policy, the Bible actually supports socialism, and further, forbids a lender from charging interest to his own countryman, which it labels "usury".

I don't consider socialism in the same vein as atheism or baby killing. Socialism gets a bad name due to China and USSR.
marjon
1 / 5 (3) Oct 02, 2010
Socialism isn't a bad thing in principle.

Yes, it is as it violates the bit about stealing.
The only way socialism can succeed,and I think the New Testament reflects this, is on a voluntary basis.
Socialism gets a bad name when the state forces all into socialism.
Jesus told the rich man to donate all he had and follow Him.
The key point is GIVE. State socialism TAKES.
marjon
1 / 5 (2) Oct 02, 2010
Jubilee presupposed an individual right to property, land and themselves.
I suspect economic activity would slow prior to Jubilee as no one would accept property that would soon be lost as collateral.

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