Anna Veiga: ”We need very safe iPS cells if we want to use them in the clinic”

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The researcher of the Center for Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, CMR[B], Anna Veiga, explained the latest developments of her research group on “in vitro” models of pluripotency in embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and iPS cells ( induced pluripotent stem cells). It was on January 13 in the cycle of seminars IDIBELL.

Since 2005 Veiga directs the Stem Cell Bank of CMR [B]. There, they try to produce new cell lines from embryonic stem cells or embryos frozen for use in research. During the conference, Veiga highlighted the difficulty of producing these lines, even if to do so is only needed a single cell. “These embryonic stem cells are an artifice, in nature they exist only a few days before the start of the differentiation of cells of the embryo. That is why we consider a great success getting five hESC cell lines from more than 61 embryos. In fact, Veiga pointed out that” today we are more efficient at producing children through assisted reproduction, than at producing hESC cell lines.”

At her laboratory they are also investigating how they can be useful iPS cells, which have been modified to regain pluripotency, in cell therapy. “The iPS animal cells are an excellent model of diseases that will allow us to investigate cell therapies in animal models similar to humans”. However, Anna Veiga has warned about their use in human therapies. “We need human very safe iPS if we want to make a clinical application.” That’s the reason why, in her opinion, there are still few clinical trials with iPS cells.

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