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A new type of stem cell found

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"A new type of stem cell found"

Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco have identified a potentially new type of stem cell, which they have called endogenous pluripotent stem cells (ePS cells). This rare population of stem cells found in healthy adult human breast tissue express OCT3/4, SOX2, and NANOG at levels similar to human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and show extensive lineage plasticity, with the ability to give rise to somatic cells including those typically found in cartilage, bone, gut, brain, pancreas and heart. Some significant differences however exist between ePS cells and hESCs or induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), one major difference being the mortality of ePS cells; unlike their hESC and hiPSC counterparts they express low telomerase activity and are unable to reproduce indefinitely. Although relatively rare, the researchers of this study believe that similar populations of ePS cells reside in other tissues of the body. Alongside iPSCs, ePS cells and may provide an additional viable and less controversial alternative to hESCs for research and regenerative medicine, particularly in parts of the world where hESC research is opposed.

 By Stem Cell Correspondent Carla Mellough

 

Original Article

Roy et al. (28 February 2013) PNAS,
Rare somatic cells from human breast tissue exhibit extensive lineage plasticity

 

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