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What are induced pluripotent stem cells?


What are induced pluripotent stem cells?


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) are derived typically from fully differentiated cells that have been genetically altered, or reprogrammed, to possess the same properties and behaviour as embryonic cells, giving them the ability to differentiate into any of the 220 different cell types in the body, and can be cultured to reproduce indefinitely.  For research purposes, iPS cells are preferred because they do not require embryos as starting points, and can be used to generate cells from many adult tissues, including skin cells.

Another advantage of using iPS cells is that they allow for cell lines to be genetically customized to patients, reducing the issue of immune rejection that is common during tissue transplantation therapies.

Lunenfeld researchers have switched virtually all human embryonic stem cell work to iPS stem cell-derived cells, which are typically made from skin fibroblasts. Of note, any research using human embryonic stem cell lines is conducted under strict ethical guidance.

Listen to Dr. Andras Nagy describe the use of iPS cells.


What researchers at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital are contributing to this growing field:

The first two human embryonic stem cell lines in Canada were established by Dr. Andras Nagy following strict ethical review procedures. These have been approved by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for use by other scientists and have enabled new insights into stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

nagy Dr. Nagy also devised a process for creating stem cells without the use of a viral vector. This new method eliminates the chance of inherited or de novo DNA mutations where there would either be an excess or deletion of DNA segments. His team is also currently exploring each phase of the programming process, to help make future stem-cell based applications safer and more efficient.

ianrogers120.jpg Dr. Ian Rogers is on the forefront of creating stem-cell based treatments for diabetes and peripheral vascular disease. He and his colleagues are using stem cells to create natural replacements for essential cells in the pancreas that are destroyed by the illness, specifically in type 1 diabetes.

rita120.jpg Dr. Rita Kandel and her team are developing biologic replacements for damaged joints and tissues, using stem cells from the patient’s own tissues. 



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