Tuesday, 11 December 2012

New method makes extraction of induced pluripotent stem cells from urine possible

Researchers from China recently announced, what is probably the most minimally invasive method for creating  induced pluripotent stem cells. They have actually presented a method for producing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from epithelial cells taken from a simple urine sample.

They claim that their method is cheap, cost effective, universal (can be applied to any age,gender and race ) and only requires a 30 ml urine sample. It takes about two weeks to prepare the urinary cell culture and about one extra month to reprogram the epithelial cells into becoming induced pluripotent stem cells.

Previous studies on induced pluripotent stem cells derived from urine show that iPSCs have great potential for treating various genetic diseases including those affecting the kidneys while other studies have demonstrated that it is possible to create urethra like tissue from them.

Who knows..Maybe someday scientists won't need bone marrow, blood or other tissues for extracting stem cells. Just a urine sample!

Induced pluripotent stem cells, are artificial stem cells derived from somatic cells via a "forced" expression of genes, associated with stem cell function.

Video explaining what induced pluripotent stem cells are

Zhou T, Benda C, Dunzinger S, Huang Y, Ho JC, Yang J, Wang Y, Zhang Y, Zhuang Q, Li Y, Bao X, Tse HF, Grillari J, Grillari-Voglauer R, Pei D, & Esteban MA (2012). Generation of human induced pluripotent stem cells from urine samples. Nature protocols, 7 (12), 2080-9 PMID: 23138349

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