induced pluripotent stem cells
EMBRYOLOGY, MOLECULAR MEDICINE
Adult cells which have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell–ESC-like state by being forced to express genes and factors important for maintaining the defining properties of ESCs.
This reprogramming enables the generation of patient-specific stem cells and has potential for treating and analysis of degenerative diseases.
Japan’s Shinya Yamanaka (Kyoto University) found that it only takes four genes to reset skin cells to the stem cell state, a discovery for which he shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir John Gurdon (Oxford) for stem cell research.