Scientists discover Technique to successfully reset Human Pluripotent Stem Cell

Researchers have discovered how human pluripotent stem cell could be "reset" to the earliest developmental state, making them act similar to those found in an embryo. These scientists were led by the Wellcome Trust Medical Research Council (MRC) Cambridge Stem Cell Institute at the University of Cambridge, UK.

The stems cells have a unique feature of developing into cells that perform highly specialized functions, and these cells can be classified based on their plasticity, or developmental versatility, and range from totipotent stem cells (the most versatile type) and pluripotent to multipotent (the least versatile).

Pluripotent stem cells have the capability of becoming any of the cell type of the body comprising muscles, nerve, heart and blood. Researchers said that these cells can be produced in the laboratory by using the cells extracted from an early stage embryo or from an adult cell induced into a pluripotent state.

According to the researchers, this research could bring advancement in the field of medicine; for example, production of cells and tissue for transplantation. Also, it can help understand human development and know what causes birth defects and cancer.

In the previous studies, the researchers found it difficult to generate human pluripotent stem cells that were truly in "blank state". They were only able to derive cells that have characteristics of differentiation into specific cell types.

Researchers have made the "reset cells" by rewiring the genetic circuitry in human embryo, and induced pluripotent stem cells. The cells that are obtained after the rewiring, share features of authentic naive embryonic stem cells isolated from mice.

MRC Prof. Austin Smith, co-author of the paper, said, "Capturing embryonic stem cells is like stopping the developmental clock at the precise moment before they begin to turn into distinct cells and tissues".

Austin said that generating human stem cells in lab is more difficult to control than mouse cells. Due to this complexity, scientists were earlier unable to generate human pluripotent stem cells that are as consistent as mouse embryonic stem cells.