DescriptionMost cells in the body have a very specific function, and cannot replace cells from other areas of the body. For example, a skin cell could not replace a neurone cell in the brain. Interestingly, the two cells will contain the exact same genetic information in the form of DNA, however, some genes will be switched on or off depending on the type of cell, this is known as epigenetics.
Stem cells are a type of cell which, because of their epigenetic state, can change into (mostly) any other type of cell. These cells are in a state before genes have been switched off, so they are not specialised in any way, and can choose which genes to switch off/on depending on the environment they are in. This makes them incredibly useful in regenerative medicine, where different cell types may be required to regenerate a damaged complex organ. However, these stem cells often come from embryonic tissue, which has obvious ethical concerns. Luckily researchers have been working on "Induced Stem Cells", where normal human skin cells can be changed epigenetically, to become stem cells, these can then be used in regenerative medicine.
In today's episode, Dr. Daniel Poppe talked about his recently published work in the area of induced stem cells. Specifically, he talked about the differences between embryonic stem cells and induced stem cells and a new method for minimising these differences, so that induced stem cells and more effective at performing the role of a stem cell.
|27 Aug 2023
|Solutions Science Podcast