There are approximately 220 different types of cells in the human body, some of which are bound to a “G0” phase in which cellular division no longer occurs (most neurons, adult cardiomyocytes, etc.) Consequently, these cell lines are difficult to treat in the event of damage (strokes, MI’s, etc.). However, the United States is finally beginning stem cell trials in humans to adequately treat damaged cell lines.
As early as next month, a handful of individuals paralyzed from the waist down will begin receiving stem cell therapy to potentially reverse their condition. Induced pluripotent (iPS) cells became a hot topic when they were first created from human fibroblasts in Japan. These fibroblasts are essentially “reverse-differentiated” into their pluripotent state so that they may be re-differentiated into other cell lines. This laboratory research is finally being taken from the bench and implemented at the bedside to treat, for example, neurodegenerative processes. I really hope these trials yield favorable results!