Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Brief: A test for potentially harmful human induced pluripotent stem cells

Yamashita et al. have produced a method for determining if human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are likely to form tumours and published their results in Scientific Reports.

Taking a patient's cells, engineering them to gain stem cell properties, such as being able to self-renew and develop into multiple different cell types, and re-injecting them into that patient's tissue is an emerging new therapeutic field. However there are concerns that these cells, once transplanted into a patient, may become cancerous. The methods used to make human iPSCs often involves making normal cells express stem cell factors (which in themselves can be oncogenic - cancer forming) and the oncogene c-myc.

By making these iPSCs into cartilage and monitoring for the formation of tumours, the group could see which iPSCs were potentially harmful. This test could prove crucial in validating iPSCs for regenerative medicine.

Mentioned Articles

Yamashita A, Liu S, Woltjen K, Thomas B, Meng G, Hotta A, Takahashi K, Ellis J, Yamanaka S, Rancourt DE.
Sci Rep. 2013 Jun 13;3:1978. doi: 10.1038/srep01978.

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