News from CMRB
Scientists from the Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona (CMRB) and the Salk Institute in California, led by Dr. Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, have discovered a new method that simplifies the process to obtain stem cells from human adult cells.
Until very recently, it was thought that iPS cells could only be produced by using a very strict formula that allowed for no variations, thereby limiting their potential for clinical application. Now, in this week’s issue of Cell Stem Cell, the group of Dr. Izpisúa shows that the recipe for iPS cells is far more versatile than originally thought. For the first time, they have replaced a gene once thought impossible to substitute, which will allow the process of obtaining stem cells by safer methods that potentially may lead to clinical application.
Dr. Izpisúa’s group was able to show that more than seven additional genes can facilitate the reprogramming process of human fibroblasts into iPS cells, and most importantly, they were able to show for the first time that all the "Yamanaka factors" can be substituted. "Until very recently, it was thought that the transcription factor OCT4 was essential to transform mature human cells to iPS cells", says Dr. Núria Montserrat, CMRB researcher and first author of the paper published in Cell Stem Cell.
"Our findings provide the possibility to identify small molecules (drugs) in the near future, capable of replacing OCT4 in the reprogramming process of the cell. This would allow us to avoid using the current methodologies, such as retrovirus, lentivirus or plasmids, which hamper the use of reprogrammed cells in replacement therapies. Thus, the use of drugs could lead to the generation of iPS cells through safe strategies fit for its clinical translation", explains Dr. Montserrat.
CMRB press release
Reprogramming human fibroblasts to pluripotency with lineage specifiers; Authors: Núria Montserrat, Emmanuel Nivet, Ignacio Sancho-Martínez, Tomoaki Hishida, Sachin Kumar, Laia Miquel, Carme Cortina, Yuriko Hishida, Yun Xia, Concepción Rodríguez Esteban, Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte; Cell Stem Cell