Induced pluripotent stem cells: A new technology to study human diseases
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Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) are somatic cells that have been programmed to a pluripotent state by the introduction of specific factors. They can be generated from cells of different origins such as fibroblasts, keratinocytes, hepatocytes and blood. iPS cells are similar to embryonic stem cells in several aspects such as morphology, expression of pluripotency markers and the capacity to develop teratomas; tumors containing cells of the three germ layers. As pluripotent stem cells they can be differentiated into several lineages including neuronal, cardiac and blood cells. Recently, several groups have successfully generated patient-specific iPS cells from donors suffering different disorders and differentiated them into the cell type affected by the disease. These new human cell-based models cannot only be used to study the dynamics of diseases but also as systems to screen new drugs. Moreover, iPS cells promise to be good candidates for regenerative medicine.
The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology