[ExI] Safe Stem Cells

John K Clark jonkc at bellsouth.net
Sun Mar 29 17:31:47 UTC 2009

About a year ago a method was found that could turn an adult skin cell into
a cell that appeared to behave identically to an embryonic stem cell.
However there were concerns about using these cells in therapy because they
had to use exotic genes to get it to work and some of those genes have been
linked to cancer. In addition a virus was used as a vector and some of those
genes get permanently incorporated in the new cell too.

In the March 26 issue of the journal Science James Thomson and his team
report that they have found a way to use a plasmid to get the genes into the
cell so there are no virus genes to worry about, and even more important
once the exotic genes have done their work reprogramming the cell they found
a way to remove them.  Thomson says:

"We believe this is the first time human-induced pluripotent stem cells have
been created that are completely free of vector and transgene sequences"

This field is advancing with Moore's law like speed.

 John K Clark

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