Induced pluripotent stem cells, which are used in many regenerative medicine projects, are now easier to make. That’s good news for researchers developing regenerative therapies, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Induced pluripotent stem cells are derived from skin or blood, then reprogrammed back into an immature state, from which they can become any type of human cell needed.
Usually, that reprogramming happens by way of a complex process. But Mayo Clinic researchers reported last week that by using the measles virus vector, they can reprogram cells in a single, "one-cycle" vector process.
It’s certainly faster than the four-part, multi-vector process used previously, and is safe, stable, and usable for clinical translation, according to a press release.
In the past, the four reprogramming factors — four proteins — had to be introduced to the cells individually. If not all of the cells received each program, some of the stem cells would only be partially reprogrammed.
"If we’re going to successfully use reprogrammed stem cells to treat patients in the clinic, we need to ensure that they are safe and effective, that is, not prone to the risk of mutation and potential tumors," Dr. Patricia Devaux, a Mayo Clinic molecular scientist and senior author of the article, said in the press release. "The measles virus vector has long been used safely at Mayo for treating cancer, so it is very safe. Now that we’ve combined a multiple-vectors process into one, it’s efficient as well."
The press release noted that the measles virus will not impart dangerous effects to the stem cells, as it has been attenuated, or reduced in force.