Could 2013 Be The Year to Revolutionize Human Stem Cell Trials in the U.S.?
Now that 2013 is in full swing, we could see the first human trial of rewound cells. The cells are engineered by turning adult cells back into a stem cell state and then manipulate them into another type of cell. This will be an historic event and a true victory for stem cell researchers across the nation. It will give scientists the ability to generate new tissue and maybe whole organs from individuals own cells.
Bach in 2006 scientist Shinya Yamanaka reverted skin cells to an embryonic state. Shinya called these cells induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). These induced cells have the ability to grow into any type of tissue in the human body by exposure to natural growth environments. The iPSC idea is to give blood platelets to individuals undergoing cancer therapy, that need platelet transfusions to prevent uncontrolled bleeding and repair damaged tissues.
However, the first trial platelets grown from iPSC will be given to healthy volunteers. Scientists from Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) of Marlborough, Massachusetts are proposing the stem cell trial to ensure that the iPSC are well tolerated before advancing the technology on to cancer patients and people with other blood typed conditions. Others critics have suggested the iPSC are at a high risk of becoming cancerous. Robert Lanza, chief medical officer at ACT has stated that the induced pluripotent stem cells don’t have nuclei, so they can’t form tumors, which makes iPSC ideal for clinical trials. Volunteers will be given platelets made from pre-existing stocks of iPSCs, but if the trial goes well, Lanza says they will create platelets from cancer patients’ own cells.
A little background on Stem Cells:
Stem cells are biological cells found in all multicellular organisms, that can divide (through mitosis) and differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells. In mammals, there are two broad types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells, which are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells, which are found in various tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing adult tissues.