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Induced pluripotent stem cells: applications in regenerative medicine, disease modeling, and drug discovery

Vimal K Singh, Manisha Kalsan, Neeraj Kumar, Abhishek Saini, Ramesh Chandra
Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology 2015, 3: 2
25699255
Recent progresses in the field of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) have opened up many gateways for the research in therapeutics. iPSCs are the cells which are reprogrammed from somatic cells using different transcription factors. iPSCs possess unique properties of self renewal and differentiation to many types of cell lineage. Hence could replace the use of embryonic stem cells (ESC), and may overcome the various ethical issues regarding the use of embryos in research and clinics. Overwhelming responses prompted worldwide by a large number of researchers about the use of iPSCs evoked a large number of peple to establish more authentic methods for iPSC generation. This would require understanding the underlying mechanism in a detailed manner. There have been a large number of reports showing potential role of different molecules as putative regulators of iPSC generating methods. The molecular mechanisms that play role in reprogramming to generate iPSCs from different types of somatic cell sources involves a plethora of molecules including miRNAs, DNA modifying agents (viz. DNA methyl transferases), NANOG, etc. While promising a number of important roles in various clinical/research studies, iPSCs could also be of great use in studying molecular mechanism of many diseases. There are various diseases that have been modeled by uing iPSCs for better understanding of their etiology which maybe further utilized for developing putative treatments for these diseases. In addition, iPSCs are used for the production of patient-specific cells which can be transplanted to the site of injury or the site of tissue degeneration due to various disease conditions. The use of iPSCs may eliminate the chances of immune rejection as patient specific cells may be used for transplantation in various engraftment processes. Moreover, iPSC technology has been employed in various diseases for disease modeling and gene therapy. The technique offers benefits over other similar techniques such as animal models. Many toxic compounds (different chemical compounds, pharmaceutical drugs, other hazardous chemicals, or environmental conditions) which are encountered by humans and newly designed drugs may be evaluated for toxicity and effects by using iPSCs. Thus, the applications of iPSCs in regenerative medicine, disease modeling, and drug discovery are enormous and should be explored in a more comprehensive manner.

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