LA JOLLA, Calif., March 7, 2011 In the past few months, a slew of papers have indicated that the therapeutic potential of a promising type of stem cell, called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, might be limited by reprogramming errors and genomic instability. iPS cells are engineered by reprogramming fully differentiated adult cells, often skin cells, back to a primitive, embryonic-like state. Given these problems, a team of researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham), Chung-Ang University in Korea, the University of British Columbia, Harvard Medical School and elsewhere wondered if there might be a better way to regenerate lost tissue to treat conditions like heart disease and stroke. Writing March 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they outline a method to obtain a new kind of stem cell they call "induced conditional self-renewing progenitor (ICSP) cells."
With the addition of a single gene, the team instructed neural progenitor cells a type of brain cell that can generate other types of brain cells to self-renew in a laboratory dish. Once they had enough, the researchers moved the ICSP cells to a rodent stroke model, where the cells stopped proliferating, started differentiating and improved brain function.
"It's amazingly cool that we can dial adult cells all the way back to embryonic-like stem cells, but there are a lot of issues that still need to be addressed before iPS cells can be used to treat patients," said Evan Y. Snyder, M.D., Ph.D., director of Sanford-Burnham's Stem Cells and Regenerative Biology Program and corresponding author of the study. "So we wondered if we just want to treat a brain disease, do we really have to start with a skin cell, which has nothing to do with the brain, and push it all the way back to the point that it has potential to become anything? In this study, we developed ICSP cells using a cell from the organ we're already interested in
|Contact: Josh Baxt|
Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute