Now, a recipe for stem cells sans the cancer-causing agent

December 4th, 2007 - 2:38 pm ICT by admin  

London, December 4 (ANI): Kyoto University researcher Shinya Yamanaka, who announced last week that he had devised a method to convert human skin cells to embryo-like stem cells, has now announced a significant improvement in his technique.

He says that his original recipe comprised of a cancer-causing agent earlier, but now its inclusion need not be there.

Yamanakas work is being seen as advancement towards the goal of using patient-matched stem cells for therapy.

In the study announced last week, Yamanaka had shown that human cells2 could be used to produce pluripotent cells that could turn into embryo-like stem cells. However, the announcement was marred by the fact that such cells were made using c-myc, an oncogene that can cause cancer.

However, Yamanakas latest study shows that human and mice pluripotent cells can be made with just three factors, and without using c-myc.

“We’ve tested these cells in mice and we know they are safe,” Nature Biotechnology quoted Yamanaka as saying.

The magazine report, however, suggests that before any pluripotent cells will be ready for use in human transplant therapies, much more work needs to be done.

For reducing risks to recipients, the introduced genes may have to be eliminated altogether, perhaps by simulating their function with a small molecule, or the genes will have to be introduced in a way that does not require viral vectors. (ANI)

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