Archive by category | Reprogramming/Pluripotency

New Nature paper, new product

The same day results of a new approach to growing stem cells in culture were published in Nature, Stem Cell Sciences in Australia announced that it was launching a new product based on that work. The culture system will grow mouse embryonic stem cells without feeder cells or serum. And yes, they’ve patented it. That was announced just a few days before the paper published.  Read more

Cloning by reprogramming?

“Now we have the technology that can make a cloned child” reads the headline of the most-read article in the Independent right now. But the article does not actually break any news, nor does it use the common method of cloning; rather it discusses a well-understood implication of that recent reprogramming breakthroughs might yield yet another weird way of making a baby.  Read more

Recent editorial is meant to urge caution, not attack a scientist

I’ve gotten a couple of emails about an editorial Nature recently ran urging scientists in the iPS field not to rush. It starts by relating an anonymous attack against Shinya Yamanaka for a minor problem. That’s supposed to get folks’ attention, but it is absolutely not the point of the article, which is to urge caution to everyone who is in and rushing into a very hot, very young field that is also politically charged.  Read more

A new protein in the pluripotency circuit represses microRNA

A new protein in the pluripotency circuit represses microRNA

Here’s an accounting of how an interesting Nature paper, published online this Sunday, came to be. Sadhan Majumder (pictured right) sought a better understanding of childhood brain cancer. He ended up finding a new regulator of self-renewal in embryonic stem cells along with a previously unknown mechanism of how this state is maintained. While working on one of the most malignant childhood brain tumours, medulloblastoma, Majumder and his group thought much of the blame for the cancer might lie on a protein called REST (which has the burdensome full name of repressor element-1 silencing transcription factor/neuron-restrictive silencing factor). REST was  … Read more

Cells reprogrammed to an embryonic-like state without viruses reported by press release

Forbes has just reported a company’s announcement that it can reprogram adult human cells to an embryonic-stem-cell-like state without using viruses. All reported successes so far use viruses to introduce new genes into the cells, a technique that most believe make them unsuitable for clinical use. At a stem-cell conference in New York, PrimeGen, based in Irvine-Calif, said that it got the technique to work by attaching “carbon-based delivery vehicles” to the proteins that the genes encode and putting the proteins inside the cells. Unusually, it announced its results outside a peeri-reviewed journal without disclosing many of the details leading to its conclusions. That means that the results are likely to be met with high skepticism from the scientific community.  Read more

Former head of Bush council on bioethics says make embryos for research–in five years

The former head of President Bush’s council on bioethics, now says there shouldn’t be a ban against cloning human embryos for research. Instead, there should be a five-year moratorium against the process. Writing in the Weekly Standard, Leon Kass decries the fact that the US Congress did not pass a law blocking all forms of human cloning, and then says that this stricter form of the law is unnecessary now that researchers can turn to alternate ways of reprogramming.  Read more

Adult cell types besides skin are reprogrammed

The possibility of reprogramming adult cells to behave like embryonic stem cells without overexpressing cancer genes or relying on hard-to-control viruses has gotten a bit closer. Publishing in Science, Shinya Yamanaka and colleagues from Kyoto University, in Japan (see From skin cells to stem cells), show that the reprogramming techniques he previously demonstrated on cultured mouse skin cells also work on two other mouse cell types: those that line the stomach and those from the liver1.  Read more

More induced pluirpotency; Yamanaka’s work reconfirmed

An independent laboratory has been able to reprogram differentiated human skin cells to an embryonic-like state using the method originally reported by Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University.1,2 Also late last year, two other laboratories announced reprogramming differentiated human cells via slightly different methods.3,4 The latest work, by Kathrin Plath of the University of California, Los Angeles, indicates that the technique is broadly feasible and introduces a potentially easier method to pluck reprogrammed cells from culture.5  … Read more

Inconsistent Christian views on reprogramming

I’ve been reading the coverage on making embryonic-like stem cells without embryos in the religious press, and two quotes going through my mind, both sarcastic. One is “Shocked! Shocked!” (from Casablanca) and the other is “Oh, Lord! Make me pure, but not just yet.” (from St. Augustine).  Read more