Australian first for Melbourne stem cell scientists

February 01, 2009

Melbourne scientists have created Australia's first induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines.

Scientists from the Monash Institute of Medical Research (MIMR) have derived the cells from skin cells, and reprogrammed them to behave as embryonic stem cells; a breakthrough that will allow Australian scientists unlimited access to study a range of diseases.

Until now, Australian scientists have had to import human iPS cells from America or Japan.

Program leader, Dr Paul Verma, said the significance of developing iPS cells 'in-house' cannot be underestimated. "We now have the capability to investigate any human disease we wish, rather than relying on iPS cells from specific diseases that have been generated elsewhere."

"In addition, each iPS cell line generated from the same adult cells appears to be subtly different. We are keen to investigate these differences between iPS lines, which would be impossible to do if we had to rely on cells provided by other laboratories," Dr Verma said.

Dr Verma and his team are working with Professor Bernie Tuch from the Sydney Cell Therapy Foundation, and will now generate iPS cells from type 1 diabetes patients to help understand the disease and develop better drugs.

Creating iPS cells does not require donated excess IVF embryos or human eggs; therefore, no human embryos are destroyed in the process. However, Dr Verma said it is still too early to assume iPS cells are the preferable alternative to working with embryonic stem cells.

"While the iPS cells we have created appear in an identical manner to embryonic stem cells, iPS cell lines show great variability in their potential to produce mature cells. If, through our research, we can overcome this, iPS cells would certainly pose a great alternative to embryonic stem cells," he said.

Dr Verma's research is funded by a joint Victorian and NSW Government grant. The Victorian Minister for Innovation, Gavin Jennings, said that Dr Verma's creation of iPS cells will greatly assist Victorian researchers to progress their research into serious diseases, and to develop better treatments.

"Creating Australia's first iPS cell line is another example of how Victoria's world-leading stem cell research capabilities have the potential to improve our quality of life he said.
Media enquiries: Julie Jacobs, Media and Communications: 9594 7138 / 0405 135 170

Monash University

Related Embryonic Stem Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

New mechanisms that regulate pluripotency in embryonic stem cells are discovered
A study by researchers at the Center for Cell-Based Therapy, which is supported by FAPESP, identified microRNAs involved in pluripotency maintenance and cell differentiation.

Embryonic mammary gland stem cells identified
Research team led by Prof. C├ędric Blanpain identified the mechanisms that regulate mammary gland development.

New insights into mechanisms regulating gene expression in embryonic stem cells
Researchers from Turku, Finland, have discovered new information about the mechanisms which maintain gene activity in human embryonic stem cells.

New tools to study the origin of embryonic stem cells
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have identified cell surface markers specific for the very earliest stem cells in the human embryo.

Scientists approve the similarity between reprogrammed and embryonic stem cells
Researchers from the Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Research Institute of Physical Chemical Medicine and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) have concluded that reprogramming does not create differences between reprogrammed and embryonic stem cells.

Drug makes stem cells become 'embryonic' again
If you want to harness the full power of stem cells, all you might need is an eraser -- in the form of a drug that can erase the tiny labels that tell cells where to start reading their DNA.

Oncogene controls stem cells in early embryonic development
Many animal species delay the development of their embryos to ensure that their offspring is born at a favorable time.

Are embryonic stem cells and artificial stem cells equivalent?
Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have found new evidence suggesting some human induced pluripotent stem cells are the 'functional equivalent' of human embryonic stem cells, a finding that may begin to settle a long running argument.

UCSF researchers control embryonic stem cells with light
UCSF researchers have for the first time developed a method to precisely control embryonic stem cell differentiation with beams of light, enabling them to be transformed into neurons in response to a precise external cue.

Protein plays unexpected role in embryonic stem cells
A protein long believed to only guard the nucleus also regulates gene expression and stem cell development.

Read More: Embryonic Stem Cells News and Embryonic Stem Cells Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to