Induced Pluripotent Stem (IPS) Cells Show Problems

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In a recent study, adult skin cells that were turned into embryonic like stem cells showed problems with advanced aging IPS cells are created from normal adult cells, usually by exposing them to some chemicals or inserting new genes.  If you know a basic amount about stem cell science, this story has to fall into the “duh” category.  Adult cells are not made to be immortalized (faked out so that they can be grown forever).  The only immortalized cells we encounter on a day to day basis are cancer cells.  So until we understand all there is to know about how a human cell works at a genetic machinery level (maybe 20-50 years from now?), trying to trick skin cells into becoming immortal stem cells is like juggling with hand grenades, it’s possible, just not smart.  Since these adult cells tricked into thinking they are stem cells at some level still know they are normal adult skin cells, they age like normal adult skin cells.  As I have posted before, there is no logical reason we are considering embryonic and IPS cells for drug candidates, as both have severe downsides compared to the patent’s own adult pluipotent stem cells (like the mesenchymal stem cells we use or other adult stem cell types).  In fact, I can think of only one reason why one would consider using these stem cell types at this early juncture, big pharma.  The only big advantage these cells have (other than the rare cases where the patient;s own cells might not work) would be that they can be grown in bio reactors,  placed in vials, and sold as drugs.  Since the patent’s own adult stem cells were built for repair and maintenance, other than the problems with business plan, they would be the best candidate for safe stem cell therapy now.  This is consistent with the adult stem cell safety study we just published.

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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