September 27, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Stem cell field mostly taking a wait-and-see attitude toward all chemical reprogramming to make iPS cells

all chemical iPS cellsI recently did a poll on people’s reactions to the new paper reporting use an all-chemical approach to making iPS cells through cellular reprogramming.

I got a good number of responses relatively quickly.

The results so far suggest that by far most people think it is too soon to know the importance of this new report.

However, of those willing to voice a more clear cut opinion at this early stage, far more were leaning towards the positive.

In fact, the 2nd most common response (from 28% of people) saw a huge impact. More than 18% were moderately positive so together that means about 46% were leaning positive.

In contrast, the two negative answers only yielded 10-fold fewer responses at 4.6%.

My own view is that this is at the very least a moderately important development, but to me where the jury is out is whether it becomes a huge development or remains lukewarm in terms of impact.

Certainly if an all-chemical cocktail can simply be added to cells for reprogramming that actually works to make real iPS cells in a general sense for most labs that try it then that would be far superior and more practical clinically speaking than using episomal vectors or non-integrating viruses as so many people do today.

The billion dollar question is whether this new approach will actually work most of the time when tons of different labs try it or alternatively if it only rarely works or only in the hands of a few experts.

In the latter scenario the impact would be minimal.