Stem cells to repair damaged heart?

Korean researchers have successfully created heart muscle cells from induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells, which have the ability to become any cell in the human body, claiming a breakthrough in attempts to advance stem cell therapies. In their studies published in peer-review journals Cloning and Stem Cell and International Journal of Cardiology, scientists led by Jeju National University’s Park Se-phil said they successfully converted skin cells into IPS by injecting them with the embryonic stem cell genes of Oct4, Nanog, Sox2 and Lin28. The researchers then cultured heart muscle cells from their IPS samples, and verified the function of the cells through electrical-biological analysis, Park said.

IPS cells refer to adult stem cells that are made to act like embryonic ones. First developed in 2007, IPS cells have been garnering rapt attention among scientists for their potential to offer the advantage of embryonic stem cells without the ethical and practical problems, as they don’t require the use of human eggs.