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;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1172482 published online today in __Science__.
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;http://www.med.kyoto-u.ac.jp/E/grad_school/introduction/1517/ devised the linkurl:first virus-free route;http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/322/5903/949 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;http://stemcells.wisc.edu/faculty/thomson.html of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has extended the plasmid technique to reprogram human skin cells...
Image: Junying Yu / UW-Madison
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