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Progress in the Reasearch on Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

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In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka and Kazutoshi Takahashi performed a groundbreaking study in stem cell research. They reprogrammed mouse skin fibroblasts by introduction of four transcription factors, Oct3/4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc and generated cells almost indistinguishable from ES cells. They named these cells induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) (Takahashi K., et al., 2006).
An year later, James A. Thomson et al. replaced Oct4 and oncogenic c-Myc with Lin28 and Nanog decreasing the risk of cancer formation (Yu J., et al., 2007). We need to take into consideration that cell types are one of the most important factors for iPS cell generation. The efficiency of reprogramming is highest in keratinocytes and fibroblasts. However, we can generate
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Another potential utility of iPS cells is the modelling of human diseases. The idea to study genetic disease mechanisms (e.g. Parkinson´s disease, Alzheimer´s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is based on the generation of disease-specific induced pluripotent stem cell lines from patient´s somatic cells. These cells should have a phenotype and properties of that particular disorder enabling us to broaden our knowledge about phenotype, genetics and progression of the disease. (Colman A. and Dreesen O., 2009) Induced pluripotent stem cell-based disease models act as an innovative tool that can be also widely used in therapeutics development and testing of new compounds. This would lead to minimizing of the use of animal models in preclinical testing and thus decreasing the cost for drug development. Further, effective development of therapeutics can be achieved by establishing predictive toxicity essays using differentiated disease-specific iPS cell lines (Inoue H. and Yamanaka S., 2011). Induced pluripotent stem cells can be also applied in the cell replacement therapies and studies. These iPS cells should be well characterized prior the transplantation. The main challenges we need to overcome are tumor formation and lack of cell type differentiation. Moreover, iPS cells generated by the traditional viral vector method cannot be used for cell replacement therapy. In conclusion, other potential
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