Tuesday, July 21, 2009

iPS repairs heart damage in mice

Even the opening paragraph of this paper from the Mayo Clinic is pure music...

"R egenerative medicine offers the potential of curative therapy to repair damaged tissues.
Pluripotent stemcells derived from the inner cell mass of early-stage embryos have provided a prototype for multilineage repair. Ethical considerations along with practical limitations, however, have precluded adoption of embryonic stem cell platforms, driving advances in nuclear reprogramming to establish viable alternatives.

In this regard, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) technology provides an emerging innovation that promises the unlimited potential of embryonic stem cells while circumventing the need for embryonic sources".

A very cute bit of research - although I always seem to be a party-pooper, reminding excited people that while iPS is useful for genetic research and drug testing, it is no more feasible for direct implantation into humans than are ESC, as both are pluripotent and therefore tumorigenic; only the lowly ASC can be safely used (and has been used now in over 2,000 humans with heart disease... eg at John Hunter in Newcastle, Victor Chang in Sydney...never mind little white mice).

Always, however, the point is this: that if ESCs are useful for anything at all, iPS have the identical, exact same usefulness - and more, because iPS is a genetic match to the patient, while ESC is not.

But readers of this Blog understand that...

Here is the Reuters report on the paper:

Embryonic-like cells repair damaged mouse hearts Mon Jul 20, 2009

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Ordinary cells reprogrammed to act like embryonic stem cells can help repair damaged heart tissue in mice, researchers reported on Monday in a study that shows a potential practical use for the experimental cells.

When injected into mice whose hearts had been damaged by a heart attack, the new cells helped improve both the structure and function of the heart. Eventually the hope would be to patch up seriously ill heart patients using their own cells.

"It was obvious to the observer which animals had been treated and which ones hadn't," said Dr Timothy Nelson of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, whose study appears in the journal Circulation.

The team used a promising new type of embryonic-like stem cell called an induced pluripotent stem cell, or iPS cell, made from ordinary cells. Many teams are using this new technology to look for ways to repair the body, a fast-growing field of research known as regenerative medicine.

Like embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells have the ability to form any kind of cell in the body. Because they come from adult tissue, their use is less controversial than embryonic stem cells, which come from days-old embryos.

etc etc… Read the full report at http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUSTRE56J51M20090720