Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell research overview

Shih-Ping Liu, Ru-Huei Fu, Yu-Chuen Huang, Shih-Yin Chen, Ying-Jiun Chien, Chien Yu Hsu, Chang-Hai Tsai, Woei-Cherng Shyu, Shinn-Zong Lin
Cell Transplantation 2011, 20 (1): 15-9
Stem cells are capable of self-renewal and differentiation into a wide range of cell types with multiple clinical therapeutic applications. The two most important issues associated with embryonic stem (ES) cells are immune rejection and medical ethics. In 2006, induced pluripotent (iPS) cells were generated from somatic cells via the introduction of four transcriptional factors: OCT4, SOX2, c-MYC, and KLF4. Researchers found that iPS cell morphology, proliferation, surface antigens, gene expression, telomerase activity, and the epigenetic status of pluripotent cell-specific genes were similar to the same characteristics in ES cells. iPS cells are capable of overcoming hurdles associated with ES cells due to their generation from mature somatic cells (e.g., fibroblasts). For this reason, iPS cells are considered an increasingly important cell therapy technology. iPS cell production entails the use of retroviruses, lentiviruses, adenoviruses, plasmid transfections, transposons, or recombinant proteins. In this article we discuss the advantages and limitations of each strategy and address issues associated with clinical trials, including the potential for liver tumor formation and low generation efficiency.

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