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Induced Pluripotency, Drug Testing, and Personalized Medicine

Posted: August 28, 2011 at 3:56 pm

From the Technology Review: "I was observing an intimate demonstration of how stem-cell technologies may one day combine with personal genomics and personal medicine. I was the first journalist to undergo experiments designed to see if the four-year-old process that creates induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can yield insight into the functioning and fate of a healthy individual's heart cells. Similar tests could be run on lab-grown brain and liver cells, or eventually on any of the more than 200 cell types found in humans. ... This is the next step in personalized medicine: being able to test drugs and other factors on different cell types. ... the cardiomyocytes derived from iPS cells are a huge improvement over the cadaver cells sometimes used to test potential drug compounds. Unlike the cadaver cells, IPS-­generated cells beat realistically and can be supplied in large quantities on demand. What's more, iPS-generated cells can have the same genetic makeup as the patients they came from, which is a huge advantage in tailoring drugs and treatments to individuals. ... Virtually everything about iPS cells is overhyped. But for the purpose of testing drug candidates, I think the possibilities are considerable, and we and lots of other people are pursuing this. There are lots of problems. Are iPS cells really normal? How do you get enough pure differentiated cells? But the potential is definitely there."

Link: http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/38348/


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