iPS Cell Technology

The recent progress in reprogramming of adult cells towards pluripotency, referred to as “induced pluripotent stem cells” (iPS cells), introduces a new dimension to the field of drug development and regenerative medicine, since it allows the generation of tissue-, disease- and patient-specific cells. iPS cells can divide indefinitely and differentiate into any cell types of the body, and thus exhibit properties similar to embryonic stem cells. The value of these properties lies in the possibility of testing drugs on iPS cell-derived somatic cells that are disease- and patient-specific. This is of particular interest for drug development for disorders of the nervous or cardiac system, due to the paucity of patient- and disease-specific cells for these organ systems.