However, the pseudo-stem cells created from mice skin cells, known as induced
pluripotent stem (IPS) stem cells, were not genetically identical like
fetal stem cells, and required different methods of triggering for every
tissue. Now scientists with Rudolph Jaenisch's lab at the Whitehead
Institute for Biomedical Research have discovered a way to transform
any type of tissue into a stem cell and ensure all the produced stem cells
are genetically identical.
The transformation is triggered by the simple release of a drug; no additional
genetic manipulation is necessary. Marius Wernig, one of the paper's two
lead authors and a postdoctoral researcher at the lab stated, "This
technical advancement will allow thousands of identical reprogrammed cells to
be used in experiments."
"Using these cells could help define the milestones of how cells are
reprogrammed and screen for drug-like molecules that replace the potentially
cancer-causing viruses used for reprogramming," added Christopher Lengner,
the other lead author and also a postdoctoral researcher at the lab.
Lengner alluded to an important fear with the current method. Past
efforts used viruses to induce the transformation and it was found that the
viruses could trigger cancer. A batch of stem cells could unwittingly
contain cancer cells that could do far greater damage to the diseased person's
body than the ailment they're being treated for.
While the new research still uses viruses, it is different in two important
ways. First the viruses target a specific spot in the genome. Past
efforts inserted genes anywhere in the genome, raising the likelihood of
cancerous mutation. In the new research, lentiviruses artificial viruses,
are used to randomly insert four genes (Oct4, Sox2, c-Myc and Klf4). All
mice cells processed thusly have the same number of viral integrations in the
same location within the genome. This both leads to genetically identical
stems cells and cuts the cancer risk.
The second important way the research is different is that in its specificity,
researchers can now focus on developing replacement molecules to the viruses,
eliminating the cancer threat. The old research only worked on skin
cells, so the focus was on developing different methods that could trigger
various tissues to become IPS cells. The new method can trigger virtually
any cell -- including cells from the intestine, brain, muscle, kidney, adrenal
gland, and bone marrow -- into becoming an IPS cell.
After the cell is transformed, the cell was further modified to wait to switch
on these genes upon a doxycycline trigger. This allowed researchers to
control when they wanted to transform the cells into stem cells, with a simple
chemical. The new method is much more efficient, with yields up from one
in a thousand cells to one in twenty.
Jaenisch, who is also a professor of biology at Massachusetts Institute of
Technology said, "In experiments, the technique will eliminate many of the
reprogramming process's unpredictable variables and simplify enormously the
research on the reprogramming mechanism and the screening for virus
The research can be found
here in the July 1, 2008, online issue of Nature Biotechnology.
Funding for the research was provided by the Human Frontiers Science
Organization Program, the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Ruth L. Kirschstein
National Research Service Award, and the National Institutes of Health.
quote: Saying "religion has no place in politics" is an utterly nonsensical statement.
quote: Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station, it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations , and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to his charge.
quote: I agree morality and ethics do have every place in politics but those ethics get skewed because of religious beliefs.
quote: You live in what you call the land of the free, yet denying stem cell research funding which may potentially cure many diseases and many people.
quote: Those so called ethics stem from a heavy catholic influence especially for Mr. Bush.
quote: Not long ago 30 states were ready to make abortions illegal. Once again heavily influenced by Catholic ideologies.
quote: Is it ethical to make a woman who was raped and inpregnated be required to have the baby?
quote: In the land of the free you deny gays the right to marry which is once again backed up by religious overtones.
quote: Bush is continuously quoted with the use of the word God in many of his speeches. He refers to the good book guiding him and his faith and uses it as his excuse for trying to bring freedom to places like Iraq and Afghanistan through war.
quote: At the same time he is doing little in terms of providing for the people of his country.
quote: Is it ethical to force a husband to endure the shame of his wife's adultery by not allowing him to kill his wife? Is it ethical to allow a mother to kill her one-year-old baby who she no longer wants because the baby is taking up all her free time. After all, who are we to tell the mother what she can and can't do with her own child.
quote: BOSTON, May 8 — Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday unveiled a $1.25 billion proposal intended to help the state maintain its status as a pre-eminent place for stem cell research and other life sciences.
quote: I can't allow such patently false information to stand. After Bush barred federal research funds, the state of California alone passed a measure to fund stem cell research at a level far beyond federal spending levels. That's in addition to the billions from private research
quote: Setting aside commercial efforts like those of the California biotech company Geron, consider a few examples of private funding for academic stem-cell research. The Starr Foundation is providing $50 million over three years for human embryonic stem-cell research at three New York City medical institutions, including the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center. Weill Cornell Medical College, also in New York City, has established the Ansary Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics with a $15 million grant from philanthropists Shahla and Hushang Ansary.In California, UCLA has established an Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine with $20 million in funding over the next five years. Stanford University created the Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine, with a goal of $120 million in funding. An anonymous donor gave Johns Hopkins University a $58.5 million gift to launch an Institute for Cell Engineering. The University of Minnesota has set up a Stem Cell Institute with a $15 million capital grant. A grateful patient pledged $25 million over the next 10 years to finance stem-cell research at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston...
quote: If adult stem cells can cure disease, then there is absolutely no reason for embryonic research.
quote: Cells Can Now be Produced From Any Tissue
quote: We gained a lot of knowledge about humans and medicine from Nazi concentration camps
quote: I, personally, agree that stem cells are a fantastic source of medical knowledge and advancement, but I am not in favor of embryonic stem cells, because of the whole messy abortion thing. There are other ways to collect these cells without that specific point.
quote: That's the most ridiculous comment I've heard. Most of the so-called science at the campus focused on injecting people with chemicals and bizarre experiments on twins and things of that nature. The German SS researchers were obsessed with the occult and offered little in the way of real science.
quote: The modern body of medical knowledge about how the human body reacts to freezing to the point of death is based almost exclusively on these Nazi experiments.
quote: It's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_human_experiment...
quote: We are not going to answer the abortion issue any time soon,
quote: I really can't believe you're trying to defend Nazi experimentation.
quote: Most of the so-called science at the campus focused on injecting people with chemicals
quote: /Just for the record i don't condone racial activities.
quote: I really can't believe you're trying to defend Nazi experimentation.
quote: I'm sorry, but the idea that people are going to start having abortions to harvest stem cells is one of the most ridiculous arguments I've ever heard from religious conservatives.
quote: the argument could easily be made that, by barring the extraction of stem cells from Western abortions, we're simply encouraging an illegal trade from actual, live infants
quote: "having abortions to harvest stem cells"
quote: I won't let her/him borrow my car but I'll have sex with them.
quote: Let's not get into the whole abortion debate. A co-worker just went in for her 10 week checkup and listened to her cell mass's heartbeat.
quote: Spivonious didn't make the claim that heartbeat = sacred
quote: He was arguing about your term "cell mass" to describe life at that stage.
quote: Have you seen ultrasounds of embryos at 6, 8, 10 weeks? They are very much recognizable as human, even if all of their limbs aren't fully developed.
quote: Anyway, if the embryo was created by humans, it's probably human.
quote: Or a cloned sheep.
quote: The ends justify the means, eh?
quote: Saying that you can't visually tell the difference at an extremely young age is nothing more than an excuse
quote: Ah, that solves the entire abortion issue then. All we need to is graft a couple of ounces of pig cells onto a human fetus, then we can abort that resultant "pig with human parts" without ethical concerns. What a relief!
quote: ...they need a huge amount of assistance from an already-developed human to do so.
quote: There are other ways to collect these cells without that specific point. I say go for these methods.
quote: Researchers Make Leap in Stem Cell Research; Cells Can Now be Produced From Any Tissue
quote: They're so afraid of the consequences the always fail to see the benefits that stem cells research and therapies could have on the populace.
quote: If it were, we would have seen huge incentives towards researchers finding other ways.
quote: One such solution would be to force the "Big Pharma" companies to charge equal amounts for their drugs domestically and overseas. Instead of charging us 10 bucks for a pill that they charge Europe and the rest of the world 1 buck for, they could instead charge everyone 2.50 for the pill
quote: That is quite a bit of infrastructure they'd have to build up to supply their nations with these drugs. Do the costs outweigh the alternative of paying more?
quote: A lot of people are going oversees for surgery now anyway.