What are induced pluripotent stem cells?
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are adult cells which have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell–such as state by being made to express genes and factors important for keeping the defining properties of embryonic stem cells. Though these cells satisfy the defining criteria for pluripotent stem cells, it is not known if iPSCs and embryonic stem cells differ in ways that were significant.
Mouse iPSCs were reported in 2006, and individual iPSCs were reported in late 2007. Mouse iPSCs demonstrate significant characteristics of stem cells that are pluripotent, such as being able to contribute to a lot of distinct tissues when injected at a really early stage in evolution, forming cells comprising cells in all three germ layers, and expressing stem cell markers. Individual iPSCs express stem cell markers and are effective at generating cells feature of all three germ layers.
IPSCs are already tools for modeling and drug development of diseases, although additional research is needed, and scientists expect to use them in transplantation medicine. Viruses are used to present the reprogramming factors into adult cells, and this process has to be carefully controlled and tested before the technique may result in useful treatment for people.
In animal research, the virus used to present the stem cell factors induces cancers. Non-viral delivery approaches are being currently investigated by researchers. In any case, this breakthrough discovery has created a powerful new way to”de-differentiate” cells whose developmental fates was previously assumed to be determined.
Additionally, cells derived from iPSCs will be a nearly identical match to the mobile donor and thus avoid rejection by the immune system. Stem cells that, in addition to studies of other types of pluripotent stem cells, which will help researchers understand how to purify cells to fix damaged cells in the body are created by the iPSC strategy.