January 27, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

IPS cells

2 min read

Today is Friday the 13th, which is supposed to be bad luck, and it seems to be a bad luck day for iPS cells. A paper came out today in Nature that will be highly upsetting for anyone hoping that iPS cells can follow a fairly direct path to the clinic. The paper from Yang Xu at UCSD showed that iPS cells were immunologically rejected by mice of an identical genetic background from which the iPS cells had been derived in the first place. …Read More

2 min read

Yesterday I ran a cancer stem cells meeting here at UC Davis School of Medicine. We had some great speakers and over 150 participants including our outstanding keynote speaker, Dr. Jeremy Rich, Director of Stem Cell Research at the Cleveland Clinic. One of the ideas percolating through the meeting was that during cancer development, there is a tremendous amount of plasticity. Cancer is not a linear process that starts with a stem cell gone bad and proceeds through defined steps A-Z. It is more …Read More

2 min read

Just how tumorigenic are iPS cells?  The field really doesn’t know at this point. However, a steady stream of papers have raised red flag after red flag about genomic and epigenomic alterations/mutations that are linked to cancer. Of course, then there is the fact that all the genetic changes actually used to make reprogrammed cells in the first palce are linked to cancer: not just Myc, but also Nanog, KLF4, Sox2, loss of p53 function, etc. We all first thought that making iPSCs without …Read More

2 min read

Yesterday I wrote about how difficult it is to tell different cell lines apart, including normal stem cells and cancer stem cells, especially since some accumulate accumulate oncogenic mutations that may make them seem more similar. A new paper is coming out that makes this case on a genomic level. Tomorrow’s Cell Stem Cell edition includes a paper by a team of researchers led by Jeanne Loring that has identified relatively small genomic abnormalities in ESC and iPS cells. While both ESC and iPS …Read More

1 min read

Sheng Ding’s lab reports today in Cell Stem Cell (you can read it here) that they have replaced all genetic factors in a new iPS cell reprogramming method except Oct4. The other factors were replaced by chemical compounds. Thus, we continue a major transition in the iPS cell field away from genes and toward chemicals. This work is very exciting. Even with the advent of totally RNA-based iPS cell formation, progress toward a completely chemical approach is quite important. Many believe that an entirely …Read More

3 min read

If IPS cells are not ready for prime time, it is probably due to these three critical challenges for these amazing cells. TUMORIGENICITY Those of us who work with IPS cells are very excited about their potential for use in regenerative medicine therapies. One serious hurdle we have talked about in the past is tumorigenicity. COST Another hurdle that is far less discussed, but is equally critical, is the potential cost of IPS cell based therapies. The therapeutic advantage of IPS cells over ESC …Read More

2 min read

Update in 2020: Wow, a lot has changed since this post almost 10 years ago, but Cell Stem Cell remains the main publisher of IPS cell articles still. The young iPSC field has published a truly massive number of papers in just 4 years. Searching ISI Web of Knowledge for papers with titles reflecting iPSC research (not just those that mention iPS cells), we find 424 total iPS cell articles from 2006-present. Interestingly, 32 of them (7.5%) were published in a single journal, Cell …Read More

3 min read

Update in 2020: It seems now after all these years that the consensus in the now more mature field is that IPSCs and ESCs are nearly identical in most cases, and both have some of the same translational challenges such as teratoma-forming activity. It’s interesting to read this post from nearly 10 years ago and the concerns that were so intense back then. An important question in the young iPS cell field has been– just how similar these reprogrammed iPS cells are to embryonic …Read More