Generation of Donor Induced Pluripotent Stem (IPS) Cells for Research
Professor Roger Pederson
Institution or company
University of Cambridge
Over the last three years, many genes have been discovered with the help of thousands of NHS patients and healthy volunteers such as blood donors. These genes have been associated with different disease risks. The next step is to discover the mechanisms by which these genes modify the risk of disease, and we are planning to use Induced Pluripotent Stem (IPS) cells to study these mechanisms in diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological disease and haematological disorders amongst others.
IPS cells are believed to be identical to embryonic stem cells but they have the advantage of not being derived from human embryos. Another benefit of IPS cell technology is that it allows for the creation of cell lines that are genetically customized to an individual; this allows scientists to study the relationship between the genetic make-up (genotype) of individuals with their characteristics or traits (phenotype).
IPS cells can be grown in the laboratory from healthy individuals. They can be produced from skin cells and work is currently being carried out to try and obtain IPS cells from blood. IPS cells have a great potential to make different cell types and we hope that this will help us to understand more about the mechanisms of different diseases and what genes are involved.