Lowry

A trend over the past few years has been comparing embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells and reprogrammed adult cells (also known as iPS cells) to each other and to other cell types. The goal is to understand what the cells are, exactly, and and how they differ from each other. Eventually this information could help researchers learn which type of cell will be most effective for developing therapies, understanding diseases or drug screening.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have found genetic differences that distinguish induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from embryonic stem cells. These differences diminish over time, but never disappear entirely. iPS cells are created when adult cells, such as those from the skin, are reprogrammed to look and behave like embryonic stem cells. But until now, scientists didn't know if the two types of stem cells were actually identical at a molecular level. This latest research shows that iPS and embryonic stem cells differ in which genes they have turned on or off.

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles have matured induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into what appear to be normal motor neurons. This work shows that iPS cells can mature into cells that appear similar to those derived from human embryonic stem cells – a finding that has important implications for people hoping to create new therapies based on iPS cells. These cells are created by reprogramming adult cells back into a pluripotent state that resembles embryonic stem cells.