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Newly engineered stem cells ready for “universal” transplantation

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Transplant often comes up as a crisis point given the global shortage for donated organs. Additionally, transplantation also comes with a risk that patients receiving the organ might reject the same. However, a new form of the “Universal” Stem Cell can actually solve this issue of donor absence or compatibility issues.

Recent efforts opted by a team at the University of California in San Francisco have allowed the genetic engineering of Pluripotent Stem Cells which will successfully bypass our body’s immunity to response while avoiding the body rejecting the organ or tissues. Up until now, in an effort to bypass tissue rejection or tissue shortage, the scientists created some stem cells that were acquired from the mature, fully functional, and developed cells that have been collected from very same individual in need of a transplant. These are termed as “Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells” or the iPSCs.

With the help of IPSCs, the scientists hope for minimization of transplanted cell rejection. These cells, when successfully implanted, shall step up for their individual role in the body, rather than rejecting the new cells. However, this particular route was fraught with several obstacles and much to the surprise of the scientists, the stem cells acquired from the person’s very own body face rejection on a continuous basis.

Moreover, the processes for IPSC are fairly difficult to execute with successful result reproduction being even harder. Dr. Tobias Deuse, the lead author for this new study published over the journal named Nature Biotechnology stated that there are several issues with this iPSC technology. However, the biggest yet is reproducibility and quality control. The scientists are still unable to decode what makes the cells amenable to proper reprogramming and most of them agree to the fact that it can’t be attained reliably as of yet.

Most long-term approaches to the therapies for individualized iPSC have now been abandoned given the high failure rates. Now, the scientists at UC San Francisco believe that they might have located a new solution by opting for a particularly different approach. This means that they can easily differentiate into a desired specialized cell. They are designed not to trigger an immune response as it is added to the body of the receiver.

Specifically, the researchers started a new cell-engineering procedure by deleting 2 genes that are known to control the dubbed activity of the protein set found in the cells. These proteins send out immune response signals to the body which is inhibited by these newly engineered cells.

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