n South African Medical Journal - Stem cells on South African shores : proposed guidelines for comprehensive informed consent : correspondence

Volume 103, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



In October 2012, Shinya Yamanaka and Sir John Gurdon were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their pioneering research into the reprogramming of mature cells into a pluripotent state. The technology developed by Yamanaka and colleagues allows researchers to turn terminally differentiated somatic cells back into a stem-cell state. These induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be cultured indefinitely in the laboratory, and can undergo directed differentiation into any cell type of interest. This is highly beneficial for disease-modelling studies, since researchers are able to culture cells that are not normally obtainable, such as neurons or retinal cells. Furthermore, the differentiated cells can be used to test potential therapies in patient-derived cells, and may even be used for future therapeutic cell transplantation.

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