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Boston University researchers validate important roles of iPSCs in regenerative medicine
Date:5/2/2011

(Boston) Researchers from Boston University's Center for Regenerative Medicine (CReM) have demonstrated that induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can differentiate into definitive endoderm cells, in vitro, with similar functional potential when compared to embryonic stem cells (ESCs), despite minor molecular differences between the two cell types. These findings are particularly important given growing controversy in the scientific literature about whether subtle differences between iPSCs and ESCs should dampen enthusiasm for iPSCs to serve as an alternative source of differentiated precursor cells for various tissues, such as the liver, lung or blood. The new work provides compelling evidence that iPSCs have potential in regenerative medicine as an investigational tool for the development of treatments against diseases that affect endodermal-derived organs, such as cirrhosis, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and emphysema.

Darrell Kotton, MD, an associate professor of medicine and pathology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), served as principal investigator and senior author for this study, which is published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation (JCI). Constantina Christodoulou, BS, from BUSM's program in genetics and genomics, was the lead author of the study.

iPSCs, discovered in 2006, are derived by reprogramming adult cells into a primitive stem cell state. They are similar to ESCs in terms of their ability to differentiate into different types of cells in vivo, including endoderm cells that give rise to liver and lung tissue. iPSCs do not require embryos and they are genetically identical to the patient's cells, suggesting their future potential to be transplanted back into the same patient without risk of rejection. Additionally, iPSCs could reduce the reliance on ESCs, which remain highly controversial and have limited availability due to federal regulation.

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Contact: Jenny Eriksen
jenny.eriksen@bmc.org
617-638-6841
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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