Researchers are one step closer to reprogramming stem cells that are safe for use in the clinic with a new virus-free method for deriving human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that doesn't rely on integrating foreign DNA, according to a linkurl:study; published online today in __Science__.
Skin cells induced to a pluripotent state
Image: Junying Yu / UW-Madison
Since these cells' genomes have never been genetically modified, they provide the first such reprogrammed cells that can fairly and accurately be compared with human embryonic stem cells to test if they are truly embryonic-like, the researchers say. Last year, Kyoto University's linkurl:Shinya Yamanaka; devised the linkurl:first virus-free route; to obtaining iPS cells, but his approach involved laborious and repeated insertions with plasmid vectors, and it was only shown to work in mouse cells. Now, linkurl:James Thomson; of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has extended the plasmid technique to reprogram human skin cells...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?