The principal goal of the autologous stem cell research field is to reprogram human (somatic) cells, such as human autologous fibroblasts, from a patient into non-embryonic pluripotent stem cells that can then be changed into different, potentially useful cell-types, such as cells of the central nervous system (neurons), pancreas (beta islets) or heart (cardiomyocytes). These cells could be used either for basic research or re-implantation into the donor (autologous transfer). As they would be genetically identical to the patient, autologous stem cells could have the potential to treat the symptoms of specific diseases, such as Parkinson’s, diabetes and heart disease, without eliciting an immune response. Inducing most adult somatic cells to return to a pluripotent state is difficult. Dr. James Byrne has discovered a subpopulation of cells present in adult human fibroblasts that are easier to reprogram into pluripotent stem cells. Usage of this subpopulation of cells may facilitate the generation of safe and clinically useful, isogenic patient-specific cell-types for use in this project.
This video shows functional, beating, patient-specific cardiomyocytes that were derived in vitro through reprogramming of a subpopulation of adult human fibroblasts that expressed the stem cell marker, Stage Specific Embryonic Antigen 3 (SSEA3). This work was completed at Stanford University by Dr. James Byrne and Dr. Renee Reijo Pera.
- A description and further information from UCLA about Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS) - View Link
- Read more from UCLA about the potential of Cardiovascular Stem Cells to revolutionize the treatment of cadiac disease - View Link
- Jerome A. Zack, PhD, a Professor at UCLA explains how iPS Cells are created and some of the possible benefits of the technology - View Link (Video)
- More information about Dr. James Byrne from UCLA and his research - View Link