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Scientific Discovery and the Future of Medicine
April 28, 2015

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Author Affiliations
  • 1Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • 2Department of Pathology, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • 3Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • 4Department of Radiology, Stanford University, Stanford, California
JAMA. 2015;313(16):1613-1614. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.1846

Classically described as a cell’s ability to differentiate into all 3 germ layers—mesoderm, ectoderm, and endoderm—pluripotency has long been the elusive core of germinal development that, if properly controlled, could lead to organ and tissue regeneration in humans. In 2006, Takahashi and Yamanaka and colleagues1 advanced biomedical science with the discovery that pluripotency could be induced in adult cells using just 4 embryonic transcription factors. Their method for creating so-called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) was straightforward for many laboratories with the requisite molecular tools yet was incredibly bold in scope, earning Yamanaka a Nobel Prize in 2012. Now nearly a decade and more than 5400 related publications since the initial 2006 article, the iPSC field is still only beginning to realize its full potential.

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