SAFELY CREATING PLURIPOTENT CELLS WITH SIMPLICON
The use of stem cells evokes something that medicine has always dreamed of: replacing damaged tissue with healthy tissue and understanding the principles of pathogenesis step by step. This works best with embryonic stem cells, but there are ethical concerns involved with that approach.
An unobjectionable alternative is the use of “induced pluripotent stem cells” (iPS cells). They are created by returning cells to their original state, even if they are actually already specialized for a certain role. Scientists call this kind of reset a “reprogramming of differentiated cells.” Although therapies with iPS cells are still a long way off, these cells already play an established role in biomedical research. They are used to help understand how cells differentiate, or to test the effect of drugs, for example.