Cellular Dynamics International‘s disclosure Wednesday that its researchers have generated stem cells from ordinary human blood samples holds enormous promise in the emerging field of personalized medicine.
The promise in the long term is that, by giving a vial or two of blood, we could all have our own personal stem cells to deploy in the event of a spinal cord injury or the onset of Parkinson’s disease or many other now-incurable diseases.
Cellular Dynamics is the first company to say it can make stem cells from something as readily available, and so representative of human diversity, as blood.
“This stuff sounds
Ever since human induced pluripotent stem cells were first derived in 2007, scientists have wondered whether they were functionally equivalent to embryonic stem cells, which are sourced in early stage embryos.
Both cell types have the ability to differentiate into any cell in the body, but their origins — in embryonic and adult tissue — suggest that they are not identical.
Although both cell types have great potential in basic biological research and in cell- and tissue-replacement therapy, the newer form, called IPS cells, have two advantages. They face less ethical constraint, as they do not require embryos. And they could
In the beginning, one cell becomes two, and two become four. Being fruitful, they multiply into a ball of many cells, a shimmering sphere of human potential. Scientists have long dreamed of plucking those naive cells from a young human embryo and coaxing them to perform, in sterile isolation, the everyday miracle they perform in wombs: transforming into all the 200 or so kinds of cells that constitute a human body. Liver cells. Brain cells. Skin, bone, and nerve.
James A. Thomson
The dream is to launch a medical revolution in which ailing organs and tissues might be repaired—not
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The great promise of induced pluripotent stem cells is that the all-purpose cells seem capable of performing all the same tricks as embryonic stem cells, but without the controversy.
However, a new study published this week (Feb. 15) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences comparing the ability of induced cells and embryonic cells to morph into the cells of the brain has found that induced cells — even those free of the genetic factors used to program their all-purpose qualities — differentiate less efficiently and faithfully than their embryonic counterparts.
The finding that induced cells are
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SAN DIEGO – Novocell, a small, privately held San Diego company, may have found new ways to make money from its technique for coaxing human embryonic stem cells into insulin-producing pancreatic cells.
That’s good news in a field that has had trouble attracting investor funding. Many venture capital firms have been skittish because of politics and the nascency of the embryonic stem cell science.
The biotechnology company announced Tuesday that it received a patent that essentially gives it control over all endoderm cells made from human embryonic stem cells.
Endoderm cells are precursor cells that can eventually develop into cells