Note in Science page
Created Nov 27 07, Updated Sep 26 08 01:20
Turning adult human skin cells into stem cells go to comments

Nuclear reprogramming, creates stem-like cells from the patient’s own cells!

Yamanaka and his colleagues have shown that their mouse technique (see Simple switch turns cells embryonic note) works with human cells as well.
Independently, James Thomson (university of Wisconsin, Madison) and his colleagues were also able to reprogram human cells, again by inserting just four genes (two of which are different from those Yamanaka uses).

(image from BBC News)

Yamanaka’s group used a retrovirus to express into adult cells OCT3/4, SOX2, KLF4, and c-MYC genes in order to reprogram cells (into stem cells) taken from the facial skin of a 36-year-old woman and from connective tissue from a 69-year-old man.
Thomson’s team used (identifying from scratch its own list of 14 candidate reprogramming genes): OCT3 and SOX2, as Yamanaka used, and two different genes, NANOG and LIN28.

Growing in a lab dish, the skin cells turned into ones that closely resemble embryonic stem cells, which have the potential to develop into every tissue of the body…
This could mean that stem cell research is no longer dependent on using cells from human embryos, which has proved highly controversial.

The induced cells do all the things embryonic stem cells do. It’s going to completely change the field (Professor James Thomson).

More work will be required to see how those cells differ from ‘normal’ stem cells and to find how to activate those genes without using a viral vector (that might cause problems).

BBC News link
sciencenow link
sciencedaily link

Nov. 30 2007: update: A simpler recipe for human stem cells
Yamanaka shows that he can make both human and mouse iPS cells with just three factors, without using c-myc (a known oncogene).

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