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    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2009
     (5644.1)
    Embryonic stem cells have long been coveted for their potential to treat a multitude of diseases as a result of their unique properties of nearly indefinite self-renewal and pluripotency (the ability to develop into any type of cell in the body), but their use has been the subject of political controversy.

    "Our findings provide the first proof that cells from human blood can morph into stem cells," said senior study author George Q. Daley, MD, PhD, an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Children's Hospital, Boston. "Making pluripotent stem cells from blood, which is one of the easiest tissues to obtain, provides an easy strategy for generating patient-specific stem cells that are valuable research tools and may one day be used to treat a number of diseases."

    To generate induced pluripotent stem cells (dubbed iPS cells), blood was collected from a 26-year-old male donor. From the blood sample, the researchers isolated CD34+ cells, a type of stem cell that produces only blood cells, and cultured them in growth factors for six days to increase their number.

    During the culture, the scientists infected the CD34+ cells with viruses carrying reprogramming factors, genes normally expressed in embryonic stem cells that can reset the blood cells to an embryonic state. Colonies of cells exhibiting physical characteristics similar to embryonic stem (ES) cells appeared about two weeks after the procedure. To determine whether these cells were also functionally similar to ES cells, the scientists analyzed the CD34+ iPS cell lines to see if they had acquired stem cell "markers," the unique combination of proteins that coat the cells' surface and distinguish them from other types of cells. Indeed, the iPS cell lines expressed the same markers as ES cells and further shared the capacity to differentiate into a variety of specialized cell types.


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    My next question is whether the use of viruses to reprogram the CD34 cells will make the stem cell lines unsafe for therapeutic use.
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      CommentAuthorDavies0010
    • CommentTimeApr 20th 2009
     (5644.2)
    The viruses used would be engineered to be impotent in terms of replication. They insert their DNA into the host cell, Rna dependent Rnase and reverse transcriptase get it into the host chromosone, seal it back up, but the regions inserted are non-divisive. The redundant viral Dna is digested by lysozymes and the CD43+iPS region becomes incorporated into the cell for as long as it and is daughter cells keep dividing.

    Atleast, thats my summary for 8:22 after waking up at 8:15. Suffice to say, viral induction in safe.
    Also, i need to revise molecular genetics before exams.