This paper aims to identify key developments in the evolution of indued pluripotent stem cells and how these developments will impact the medical field. Beginning with a comprehensive exploration of the history and discovery of stem cells, it will highlight the challenges historically faced by researchers and medical professionals prior to the discovery of defined factors in adult cells. Using published research for reference, it will describe the process of discovery and modern application of induced pluripotent stem cells, leaning heavily on the original work of Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University, who was awarded a Nobel Prize for her role in discovering adult pluripotency. Finally, it will take a forward perspective to predict how this technology may be used in the future of medicine and discuss some of the most controversial ethical questions regarding these potential uses.
In 1981, Martin Evans of the University of Cambridge revolutionized the field of medicine when he became the first person to identify embryonic stem cells. In a study that involved observing cultures of mouse embryos, Evans and his team discovered cells that behaved much differently than adult somatic cells. These cells, derived from the inner cell mass of mammalian blastocysts, had the incredible property of pluripotency. They were undifferentiated and able to grow indefinitely into cells of all three germ layers (Evans 1981), a completely unique ability that had been previously unheard