Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another iPS advance

Scientists at Children's Hospital Boston have discovered how to create induced pluripotent (iPS) cells from skin cells using mRNA molecules they created to tell the skin to produce make 4 proteins which turn the cells into iPS cells. From the Washington Post story:
After tinkering with the mRNA molecules in the laboratory to make signals that the cells would not destroy as dangerous invaders, the researchers found that a daily cocktail of their creations were surprisingly fast and efficient at reprogramming the cells. The approach converted the cells in about half the time of previous methods - only about 17 days - with surprising economy - up to 100 times more efficient than the standard approach.

Moreover, detailed tests indicated the cells had not experienced any disturbing changes in their DNA caused by previous methods and were virtually identical to embryonic stem cells. In addition, the researchers went one step further and showed that they could use the approach to then coax the iPS cells they created into a specific type of cell, in this case muscle cells.

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