Advanced Cell Technology Inc. and researchers from Harvard University and Massachusetts claimed that they have identified a technique that involves soaking cells in human proteins to produce cells that behave like embryonic stem cells.
Dr. Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell is looking forward to get the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permission in next year to start human trials. He is quite assure that after a few more flight tests in order to assure everything is working properly, the new technique would be ready for commercial use.
Several teams of scientists have homed in on four genes that can turn back the clock in ordinary cells, making them look and act like embryonic stem cells. These so-called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, could in theory be made using a patient’s own skin, allowing grow-your-own transplants with no risk of rejection.
Till now scientists all over the world have tried different ways to create embryonic stem cell like cells.
Previously scientists used retroviruses, which integrate their own genetic material into the cells they infect.
Others used loops of genetic material called plasmids or other genetically engineered molecules to reformat the cells.
Another team used the proteins made by the four genes and valproic acid to reprogram cells,
According to Dr. Lanza all these methods have drawbacks. He claimed that they have got the ultimate solution. This method eliminates the risks associated with genetic and chemical manipulation, and provides for the first time a potentially safe source of iPS cells for translation into the clinic.
His team, working with Kwang-Soo Kim of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and a team at CHA Stem Cell Institute in South Korea used a peptide, a protein fragment, to drag the human proteins into the cells.
In the study researcher used cells from the foreskins of newborn boys and transformed the cells into iPS cells. They even able to regrew them into a variety of mature new cell types.
This study has been reported in the journal Cell Stem Cell.