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New method developed by UC San Diego bioengineers gives regenerative medicine a boost
Date:4/23/2009

nomics refers to more global analysis of epigenetic changes across the entire genome.

Zhang's team which includes researchers from Harvard University, Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Wisconsin, Madison used their novel method to study nuclear reprogramming of differentiated adult human cells into pluripotent stem cells.

"We found that nuclear reprogramming based on the existing retroviral carriers appears to result in over-reprogramming, which will have profound implications on the use of induced pluripotent cells for personalized regenerative medicine," Zhang said. "The surprising finding is that all current similar methods seem to be over re programming so they push the cell fate too far. Once we turn the clock back we want to turn it forward again to a certain tissue type to fixed damage tissues in patients. You want to turn it back just enough. If you turn it back too far it might be hard to bring it back. We found that the first generation of (reprogramming) cocktails that people have developed is not perfect yet. One of the biggest concerns about regenerative medicine is that stem cells can cause tumors. You want to control that."

Zhang and his team are using this new method to compare the use of artificial and natural stem cells.

"Different cells manifest as different types, so there are different layers of information and instructions on top of the genetic code," he said. "This method will help determine whether artificial stem cells can 100 percent mimic natural stem cells. This method helps you determine if, by doing this trick, you can generate a stem cell similar to a natural stem cell. If it is not similar there may be some risk. For example, if you use this method on a mouse and the mouse tends to be shorter and develop a tumor, that's a big concern. This research helps ease those concerns. The big open question is by doing this kind of trick are you able to control the artificial cell 100
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Contact: Andrea Siedsma
asiedsma@soe.ucsd.edu
858-822-0899
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert  

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