Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)
IPSCs are derived by reprogramming skin or blood cells into a pluripotent state similar to an embryo. This allows the creation of unlimited sources of any human cell type needed for therapeutic purposes. iPSCs can be prodded to become beta islet cells in order to treat diabetes or blood cells that are free from cancerous cells for a patient with leukemia. They can also be made into neurons to treat neurological disorders.
A team of BSCRC faculty members, Drs. Kathrin Pyle, William Lowry and Amander Clark were the first to create human iPSC. Scientists had known for a long time that cells from a specific tissue, like skin cells or blood, could only produce other cells of the same type. The iPSC discovery has become the basis for a new regenerative medical field.
Using iPSC, our faculty has reprogrammed cells from skin into motor neurons, sperm and egg precursors as well as liver cells, blood precursors and bone precursors. Patients with incurable diseases like ALS, Rett Syndrome and Lesch-Nyhan Disease donate their skin cells to BSCRC researchers for iPSC reprogramming. Patients and their families generously participate in this research, allowing BSCRC scientists the opportunity to study these diseases.