SAN FRANCISCO, CA November 20, 2007 Acclaimed stem cell researcher Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, has reported that he and his Kyoto University colleagues have successfully reprogrammed human adult cells to function like pluripotent embryonic stem (ES) cells. Because it circumvents much of the controversy and restrictions regarding generation of ES cells from human embryos, this breakthrough, reported in the journal Cell, should accelerate the pace of stem cell research.
Last year, Yamanaka, who is also a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease (GICD), reported that he and his Kyoto colleagues had reprogrammed mouse skin cells into pluripotent stem cells, laying the foundation to apply this methodology in human cells.
In this earlier work, published in Cell, Yamanaka and his colleagues identified four genetic factors that resulted in the reprogramming of adult mouse cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells capable of developing into any kind of cell. This summer, he reported in Nature that these iPS cells could even form a new mouse, making them functionally the same as ES cells. According to the new research, those same genetic factors used with human adult cells resulted in iPS cells which are nearly indistinguishable from human ES cells.
The rapid application of this approach to human cells has dramatically changed the landscape of stem cell science, said GICD Director Deepak Srivastava, MD. Dr. Yamanakas work is monumental in its importance to the field of stem cell science and its potential impact on our ability to accelerate the benefits of this technology to the bedside. Not only does this discovery enable more research, it offers a new pathway to apply the benefits of stem cells to human disease.
Dr. Yamanaka and his group have made yet another extremely important contribution to the stem cell field, said Richard Murphy, interim president of the California Institute for Regen
|Contact: Valerie Tucker|