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HiPS cells and the future of epigenetic reprogramming

Dec 13, 2023

Transient naive reprogramming is a new method for creating human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPS cells) from somatic cells, resulting in cells with epigenetic and functional characteristics remarkably similar to human embryonic stem cells. This technique addresses and corrects the typical epigenetic and functional differences found in hiPS cells, offering promising implications for regenerative medicine, disease modelling, and research in longevity and ageing.

August 2023 – Nature

 

Key takeaways

 

  • Advanced reprogramming technique: The transient naive reprogramming method represents a significant advancement in stem cell technology. By more closely mimicking the process that occurs in human embryonic stem cells, this technique allows for the creation of hiPS cells that are functionally and epigenetically similar to these naturally occurring stem cells. This similarity is crucial for ensuring the cells’ effectiveness and reliability in various applications, including research and therapy
  • Enhanced stem cell quality: The quality of stem cells produced through this method is notably higher than that of hiPS cells created through previous techniques. This enhancement is primarily due to the reduction of epigenetic and functional differences that have been a challenge in stem cell research. The improved quality means these cells are likely to be more effective in modelling diseases, testing drugs, and potentially in therapeutic applications, especially those related to ageing and age-related diseases
  • Potential in regenerative medicine: With their closer resemblance to human embryonic stem cells, the refined hiPS cells hold significant promise in regenerative medicine. They could be used to repair or replace damaged tissues and organs, offering new treatments for a range of age-related conditions such as neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, and diabetes. This could lead to extended healthy lifespans and improved quality of life for ageing populations

 

This breakthrough has substantial implications for ageing research. Understanding and manipulating the ageing process at a cellular level is a key area of longevity studies. The ability to create hiPS cells that retain the youthful epigenetic and functional characteristics of embryonic stem cells provides a powerful tool for researchers. It could lead to new insights into how cells age and how the ageing process might be slowed or reversed, paving the way for new anti-ageing therapies.

 

Read the article at: Buckberry, S., Liu, X., Poppe, D. et al. Transient naive reprogramming corrects hiPS cells functionally and epigenetically. Nature 620, 863–872 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-023-06424-7