It is of great interest to derive pluripotent stem cells from non-embryonic cells. In this way, one could potentially model in vitro genetic diseases that afflict patients. In addition, cells derived from patient-specific stem cells would not be rejected upon transplantation back into the patient. A methodology for generating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from adult human cells was reported in 2007, and involves the forced activation of specific genes in the adult cells. A central goal of our proposal is to compare human iPS cells derived from different types of starting cells. This analysis will allow us to determine whether the type or state of the starting cells affects the quality of the resulting iPS cells. In the first year of this grant we have successfully generated and validated 14 different iPS cells from fibroblasts, and have underway experiments aimed at generating iPS cells from other cell types, with promising preliminary results. This progress puts on track to accomplishing the proposed research in the 2nd and 3rd years.
Our laboratory also has extensive experience with studies of the basic biology of pluripotent stem cells, and we are making use of that expertise in the proposed work. The proposed research is expected to provide the community of stem cell researchers with new pluripotent stem cells from diverse cell types, and to make important contributions towards the development of safe clinical applications of iPS cells.