Embryonic Stem (ES) and Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) Cells
Teams of Investigators in the Center for Regenerative Medicine are committed to understanding how undifferentiated stem cells differentiate into specified cell lineages as well as how differentiated cells may be ‘reprogrammed’ into stem cells. The two model systems used by many of our investigators are embryonic stem (ES) and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. ES cells derived from the early blastocyst possess the remarkable capacity to differentiate into any cell in the body. Thus, ES cells serve as a nearly ideal model system from which to understand how undifferentiated cells make cell fate choices as they differentiate. iPS cells are highly similar to ES cells. However, iPS cells are not derived from an embryo, but rather are generated through the process of ‘reprogramming’ involving the transfer of certain transcription factors into post-natal somatic cells. Investigators at Boston University have published a single lentiviral ‘stem cell cassette’ vector (STEMCCA) allowing highly efficient reprogramming of human and mouse skin cells in order to generate new stem cells. STEMCCA is one of our many research tools used to better understand stem cell biology and develop novel cell-based regenerative therapies designed to combat certain target diseases affecting our patients at Boston Medical Center, such as amyloidosis, sickle cell disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, and acute lung injuries. Investigators in this research program also maintain two core facilities available to the Boston University Medical Campus: an iPS cell core and a vector core containing reagents able to transfer genes into stem cells.
To learn more, please click on the lab sites of one of our investigators: