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July 07, 2010

CiRA reviews potential of iPS cells in cardiovascular medicine

July 12, 2010 - The development of techniques for inducing pluripotency in differentiated cells, first pioneered by CiRA director Shinya Yamanaka, has been celebrated both for its fundamental scientific interest, and for its enormous promise in future clinical applications and the development of new drugs. While their therapeutic potential remains speculative at present, physicians and clinical research have shown great interest in learning more about the characteristics, behavior and possible uses of these cells.

In a new review published in the journal Circulation, Yoshinori Yoshida and Shinya Yamanaka provide a new resource for cardiovascular biologists and physicians, detailing the history of induced pluripotency since its first report nearly five years ago, to techniques for the characterization of iPS cells, their differentiation into heart muscle cells, and their potential contributions to cardiac regeneration. They also explain the rationales behind the derivation of patient-specific iPS cells, both for use in future therapies and in the screening of candidate drug compounds for efficacy and toxicity in cardiac tissue.

While many hurdles need to be cleared before iPS cells can be used therapeutically in humans, this review shows clearly how much progress has been made and what work remains to be done before their tremendous medical potential is realized.

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