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A patient's own skin cells may one day treat multiple diseases
Date:8/4/2011

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) The possibility of developing stem cells from a patient's own skin and using them to treat conditions as diverse as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and cancer has generated tremendous excitement in the stem cell research community in recent years. Such therapies would avoid the controversial need for using stem cells derived from human embryos, and in theory, also bypass immunological problems inherent in using cells from one person to treat another.

However, in the nearly five years since the first article describing the development of stem cells derived from adult cells so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) unique problems inherent in their use have surfaced and even their immunological safety has been called into question.

According to Paul S. Knoepfler, UC Davis associate professor of cell biology and human anatomy, finding such obstacles in such a new and novel approach is not surprising and should not dissuade investigators from actively pursuing this avenue of research. A roadmap for finding solutions to the problems identified with iPSCs, written by Knoepfler and Bonnie Barrilleaux, a postdoctoral fellow working in Knoepfler's laboratory, is available online and will be published in the Aug. 5 issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell. Their perspective, "Inducing iPSCs to escape the dish," suggests research strategies to advance the field more rapidly toward applications for human diseases.

"iPSCs offer the potential to treat many diseases as an alternative or adjuvant therapy to drugs or surgery," said Knoepfler, who also is a faculty member of the UC Davis Genome Center and UC Davis Cancer Center. "Problems that have been identified with their use likely can be overcome, allowing iPSCs to jump from the laboratory dish to patients who could benefit from them."

iPSCs were first produced in 2006 from mouse cells and in 2007 from human cells. They have many of the same regen
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Contact: Charles Casey
charles.casey@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu
916-734-9048
University of California - Davis Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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