Induced pluripotent stem cells

The future of stem cells?

In 2007, scientists first reported that they had been able to reprogramme human adult cells into an ‘embryonic stem-cell-like state’, or induced pluripotency, allowing them to differentiate into multiple cell types. This bypasses the problem of immune rejection, as therapies could use the patient’s own cells to create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. They are easier to create and more ethically acceptable than embryonic stem cells, although research has yet to establish whether they would replace the need for embryonic stem cells in the future.

Now, consider a future where iPS therapy is readily available, without a danger of them becoming cancerous when introduced into the body (so iPS cells could be readily produced in the lab). What type of advert could this lead to?

 

PLURI-U: PUTTING THE ‘I’ INTO IPS CELLS!

 

Transplants from donors are a thing of the past, thanks to Pluri-U. Simply attend your local clinic and have a small skin sample taken. Then, technicians will treat your cells with the right combination of chemicals and produce whichever cells you need for your condition, tailor-made to match your own immune system. No rejection! No immune-suppressing drugs!

 

But don’t take our word for it!

 

Marion, 41, says: “A lifetime of type 1 diabetes, and my disease was gone after one procedure. No more insulin, no more monitoring my blood sugar! My only regret is that this wasn’t available 20 years ago!”

 

Mark, 35, says: “Our son was born with sickle-cell anaemia, but thanks to Pluri-U’s cell reset and gene therapy package, his blood cells are now normal and he’s disease-free!”

 

Questions for discussion

  • What about using stem cells to enhance humans – do you think it would be acceptable to use the same technology to make you stronger or able to run faster?

Further reading

About this resource

This resource was first published in ‘The Cell’ in February 2011 and reviewed and updated in September 2015.

Topics:
Cell biology, Medicine, Health, infection and disease
Issue:
The Cell
Education levels:
16–19, Continuing professional development