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New Stem Cell Process May Sidestep Complication

Non-integrating adenoviruses may create iPS cells without harm to target cells seen previously

FRIDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- A new method of creating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells appears to avoid problems associated with the use of genome-integrating viruses, according to research published online Sept. 25 in Science.

Matthias Stadtfeld, Ph.D., of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Center for Regenerative Medicine in Boston, and colleagues describe their work using non-integrating adenoviruses to create iPS cells from tail-tip fibroblasts and liver cells of mice. A disadvantage to the process previously used to create iPS cells was the reliance on viruses that integrated into cells' genome and were associated with tumor formation.

After incubating 500,000 adult mouse hepatocytes with adenoviruses expressing c-myc, Klf4, Oct4 and Sox2, the researchers found three colonies that could be expanded into embryonic stem-like cell lines expressing pluripotency markers. Injecting adeno-iPS cells into SCID mice resulted in formation of teratomas that demonstrated muscle, cartilage and epithelial cells.

"Our results demonstrate the generation of iPS cells without the use of integrating viruses by employing either a combination of adenoviruses and an inducible transgene or adenoviruses alone. Our work shows that insertional mutagenesis is not required for in vitro reprogramming, and it provides a platform for studying the biology of iPS cells lacking viral integrations," the authors write. "If human iPS cells can be generated without genome-integrating viruses, these cells may allow for the generation of safer patient-specific cells and thus could have important implications for cell therapy."

The authors of the study are filing a patent based on the findings in the article.

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