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Breakthrough in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Research Reported in Stem Cells and Development

New Rochelle, NY, May 14, 2010—In a promising new development in stem cell research, scientists report the first successful reprogramming of adult pig cells to produce induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) that are capable of forming all of the tissue types required for fetal development, as described in an article in Stem Cells and Development, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The article, entitled “Porcine Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Produce Chimeric Offspring,” is available free online.

The ability to generate porcine iPSC will make it possible to explore the development of novel cell therapies and tissue and genetic engineering strategies for personalized medicine to repair and regenerate diseased and injured organs. Until now, only mouse iPSC lines had been shown to be pluripotent, having the ability to differentiate into multiple cell and tissue types. These types of research studies cannot be pursued using human iPSC lines for ethical and moral reasons. Pig-derived iPSCs, like porcine anatomy and physiology, are more closely related to their human counterparts than are the mouse equivalents, and therefore provide more relevant models for research and development of future stem cell-based therapies.

Franklin West and colleagues from the University of Georgia (Athens) and Minitube of America (Mt. Horeb, WI) report that 29 of 34 (85.3%) live piglets that developed from reprogrammed porcine somatic cells were chimeras, containing two genetically distinct populations of cells. Porcine somatic cells were reprogrammed to form stem cells by introducing up to six control factors that revert gene expression patterns in the adult cells back to an embryonic state.

Steve Stice and his collaborators have achieved an almost unheard rate of viable chimeric integration in a species that has obvious attractions as a physiologically relevant testing model for human conditions” says Graham C. Parker, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Stem Cells and Development and research professor in The Carman and Ann Adams Department of Pediatrics, Wayne State University School of Medicine.