iPS Research

Currently, intensive research is being conducted in the field of iPS cells. iPS cells generally have the advantage, with regard to later therapeutic application, that they do not require the destruction of embryos for their procurement/generation/derivation. Furthermore, due to their genetic similarity to the DNA of the persons to be treated, they are usually much better immunologically tolerated than human embryonic stem cells.

Despite the fundamentally better immunological tolerability of iPS cells, rejection reactions still occur, even when iPS cells are used therapeutically. One method to reduce rejection reactions and the use of immunosuppressants is the matching of HLA haplotypes, which is the focus of several projects in iPS research.

The process of reprogramming which genetically ‘resets’ cells can cause the occurrence of short- as well as long-term genetic anomalies in iPS cells. These anomalies can, amongst other things, facilitate tumour growth. Therefore, researchers currently investigate how the process of reprogramming can be altered in order to decrease genetic changes. Additionally, standardised procedures for quality control of iPS cells are being developed.

A further aspect of iPS research consists in improving the efficiency of iPS cell derivation. The procedures applied at present only succeed in reprogramming a small number of somatic cells. However, large numbers of iPS cells are necessary to use them therapeutically. Additionally, hES research as well as iPS research focus on improving the cultivation and safeguarding a targeted as well as homogenous differentiation of stem cells. Furthermore, gaps in knowledge with regard to both stem cell types remain concerning the targeted suppression of cell division of stem cells in vivo that are either undifferentiated or not suitably differentiated.

Besides, stem cell research is targeted at gaining a fundamental understanding of early embryogenesis. Current research thus also attempts to explore the differences between hES cells, iPS cells, adult stem cells and SCNT cells.

Further information on the current state of research:

Dobrzyński, M. / Rybak, Z. / Szymonowicz, M. / Zakrzewski, W. (2019): Stem cells: past, present, and future. In: Stem Cell Research and Therapy 10. doi: 10.1186/s13287-019-1165-5 Online Version 

Almeida Santos, J. M. / Braganca, J. / Lopes, J. A. / Mendes-Silva, L. (2019): Induced pluripotent stem cells, a giant leap for mankind therapeutic applications. In: World Journal of Stem Cells 11(7), 421-430. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v11.i7.421 Online Version 

Attwood, S. W. / Edel, M. J. (2019): iPS Cell Technology and the Problem of Genetic Instability – Can it Ever Be Safe for Clinical Use? In: Journal of Clinical Medicine 8(3). doi: 10.3390/jcm8030288 Online Version 

Hu, J. / Wang, J. (2019): From embryonic stem cells to induced pluripotent stem cells – Ready for clinical therapy? In: Clinical Transplantation. The Journal of Clinical and Translational Research 33(6). doi: 10.1111/ctr.13573 Online Version 

Yamanaka, S. (2020): Pluripotent stem cell-based cell therapy — promise and challenges. Cell stem cell, 27(4), 523-531. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2020.09.014 Online Version

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