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New Strategies Towards Stem Cell Therapies Encouraged

Posted Sep 01 2011 10:42pm
Posted on 2011-08-31 06:00:00 in Stem Cell |

The possibility of developing stem cells from a patient's own skin and using them to treat conditions as diverse as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer has generated tremendous excitement in the stem cell research community in recent years. Such therapies would avoid the controversial need for using stem cells derived from human embryos, and in theory, also bypass immunological problems inherent in using cells from one person to treat another.  However, in the nearly five years since the first article describing the development of stem cells derived from adult cells so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) unique problems inherent in their use have surfaced and even their immunological safety has been called into question.  According to Paul S. Knoepfler, from the University of California/Davis (California, USA), and colleagues, finding such obstacles in such a new and novel approach is not surprising and should not dissuade investigators from actively pursuing this avenue of research. The team has drafted a roadmap for finding solutions to the problems identified with iPSCs, in which they suggest research strategies to advance the field more rapidly toward applications for human diseases.  Acknowledging that: “Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold great promise for autologous cell therapies, but significant roadblocks remain to translating iPSCs to the bedside,” the authors “discuss potential solutions to these hurdles to provide a roadmap for iPSCs to ‘jump the dish’ and become useful therapies.”

Bonnie Barrilleaux, Paul S. Knoepfler.  “Inducing iPSCs to Escape the Dish.”  Cell Stem Cell, 9(2) pp. 103 – 111, Aug. 5, 2011.

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