Kyoto University research group reportedly has generated from a mouse skin cell a new pluripotent cell that resembles an embryonic stem cell.

The online issue of the U.S. scientific journal Cell reported Thursday that Shinya Yamanaka and Assistant Kazutoshi Takahashi have succeeded in creating the pluripotent cell, which they named induced pluripotent stem, or iPS, cell. The iPS cell has similar characteristics to ES cells, which can grow into tissues and organs.

If human iPS cells can be created, patients undergoing transplants could have new organs with the same genes as their own, clearing the problem of postoperative rejection responses, and without ethical problems.

They picked up 24 candidate gene factors and, using a virus, implanted four gene factors, including Sox2, into a skin cell extracted from a mouse tail and cultivated it.

In two weeks, the skin cell with the four gene factors developed to take on a similar pattern to embryonic stem cells.

When the group examined the cell’s characteristics in a mouse body, the cell formed tumors called teratomas containing nerves, digestive tissues and cartilage in three weeks. Its pluripotency was also confirmed as the cell developed heart muscle cells and nerves, and showed signs of a pulse on a culture dish.

Link [www.showmenews.com/2006/Aug/20060813News017.asp]