Thursday, October 29, 2015

Are embryonic stem cells and artificial stem cells equivalent?

Experimental "trick" lets researchers compare embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells in new way

Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have found new evidence suggesting some human induced pluripotent stem cells are the “functional equivalent” of human embryonic stem cells, a finding that may begin to settle a long-running argument. The findings were published this week in Nature Biotechnology.

From 1998 until 2007 embryonic stem cells (ES cells) were the only human cells known with the potential to become any other type of cell in the body. When Shinya Yamanaka discovered how to engineer adult somatic cells to a state where they, too, had this potential – a discovery for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize - scientists could then reprogram nearly any type of adult cell, including the oft-used skin and blood cells, to make induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells.

Link to full HSCI release

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