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Hebrew University research carries cautionary warning for future stem cell applications
Date:11/22/2010

ucture of the chromosomes in the iPS cells through determining the cellular patterns of gene expression.

Each cell generally bears two copies of each chromosome in the genome. The Hebrew University researchers discovered that, in time, three copies of chromosomes (trisomy) began to appear in the culture, and that the cells with the extra chromosome were able to rapidly overpower the other, normal cells in the culture. Such trisomies are present in abnormal tissue development, including cancerous growths.

The researchers examined over 100 cell lines which were published by 18 different laboratories around the world, in addition to the iPS cultures raised in their own laboratory, and in this way were able to solidly verify a great number of chromosomal changes in cell lines that until now were considered normal.

In an article published in Cell Stem Cell journal, the Hebrew University researchers have reported their discovery. They noted that the chromosomal changes were not incidental, but rather appeared systematically on chromosome 12 and involved up-regulation of specific genes which reside on that chromosome. This discovery is liable to hinder progress on the development of the use of human iPS cells in future therapy because of the tumorigenic danger involved.

"Our findings show that human iPS cells are not stable in culture, as was previously thought, and require reassessment of the chromosomal structure of these cells," said Prof. Benvenisty. "Also, our work shows for the first time the gene expression changes that accompany these chromosomal aberrations found in the culture, paving the way for our beginning to understand the mechanism by which these changes occur.

"The chromosomal changes in these iPS cells require everyone to exercise great care in continuing to work with them, since these changes apparently will influence the differentiation potential and the tumorigenic risk of these cells."


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Contact: Jerry Barach
jerryb@savion.huji.ac.il
972-258-82904
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Source:Eurekalert  

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