he study. "Fortunately, we think the problem may be related to the use of viruses. Preliminary results suggest that these abnormalities are significantly reduced using stem cells generated without the use of viruses or genetic manipulation. Although there is excitement that iPS cells can serve as an embryo-free source of stem cells, it would premature to abandon research using embryonic stem cells until we fully understand what's causing these problems."
Rapid progress is being made towards controlled differentiation of human iPS cells into specific tissue types, such as heart, liver, and eye including retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Although these studies clearly suggest a similar differentiation potential between iPS and embryonic stem cells, it is unclear whether they can be expanded into homogeneous cell populations suitable for use in drug discovery and clinical translation.
"A major hallmark of ES-derived cells is the high recovery and proliferative capability of the cells," stated Shi-Jiang Lu, Ph.D., Senior Director of Stem International and co-senior author of the paper. "We compared the characteristics of cells derived from iPS and ES cells, and found that blood and vascular derivatives from iPS cells display abnormal molecular and/or cellular processes compared to their corresponding ESC counterparts. Similarly, RPE cells derived from iPS cells began senescing in the first passage, indicating the observed phenomenon is not limited to hemangioblastic lineages."
"More research is clearly needed before we can advance iPS cell technology into the clinic," stated William M. Caldwell, CEO and Chairman of ACTC. "However, until this technology is perfected, we believe embryonic stem cells will play an important role in helping patients suffering from a range of debilitating diseases."
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