The technical challenges of using retroviruses to reprogram cells to a pluripotent state could be worked out within the year, researchers said today in a press conference at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research in Philadelphia. However, they stressed, human embryonic stem cells are still, and will continue to be, the gold standard for research on pluripotency and differentiation. The speakers, including linkurl:George Daley; of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, linkurl:Shinya Yamanaka; from Kyoto University, and linkurl:Rudolph Jaenisch; from the Whitehead Institute, agreed that while differentiated cells reprogrammed for pluripotency hold massive promise, continued research on human embryonic stem cells is essential. Indeed, noted Yamanaka, whose group first linkurl:published; on reprogramming somatic cells into stem cell-like cells last November, without earlier research on how human embryonic stem cells maintain pluripotency and differentiate, the reprogramming studies could never have been done. "We need new human embryonic...

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