Wednesday, September 27, 2017

New advancements in stem cell research

      A recent article published on ScienceDaily discusses a new method of using stem cells to regenerate tissues. There has been a vast amount of attention on human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) over the past decade because they have the potential to develop into any other cell type. This idea of using stem cells to essentially "regrow" new types of cells has been contemplated for many years. In order to convert stem cell to another desired cell, a specific molecule must bind to a specific DNA sequence and prevent the SOX2 protein from being expressed. In stem cells, the SOX2 protein binds to the DNA sequence and prevents the cell from converting into other cell types. Until now, researchers Junichi Taniguchi and Ganesh Pandian Namasivayam created a synthetic molecule that could allow hiPSCs to convert to mesoderm. Mesoderm is a cell type that could be provoked into converting into heart tissue muscle. Researcher created a synthetic molecule, PIP-S2, that was successful at binding to the specific DNA sequence responsible for converting hiPSCs into mesoderm. PIP-S2 prevents the SOX2 protein from binding to that DNA sequence, which in result, made it possible for hiPSCs to convert into mesoderm without being restricted by the SOX2 protein. After, researchers added a signaling inhibitor molecule which allowed for the heart cell to form. I believe the implications of this research could potentially break grounds in the medical field. However, there is still much more research to be done to figure out how these findings could be used for creating other types of cells. I believe that we are just at the beginning of changing medicine as we know it.

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