Anu Parthiban|Dec 1, 2023
IIT Guwahati, CMC Vellore develop method to convert ordinary human skin cells into pluripotent stem cells
IIT Guwahati and CMC Vellore's collaboration aligns with India's commitment to advancing stem cell research.
NEW DELHI: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati researchers in collaboration with the scientists from Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore have developed a method to convert ordinary human skin cells into pluripotent stem cells.
The research team was headed by Rajkumar Thummer, assistant professor in the department of biosciences and bioengineering at IIT Guwahati. The research will help harness the potential of stem cells for medical applications. According to the institute, the pluripotent stem cells, known as Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs), can be programmed to develop into various types of adult cells, offering solutions for treating a range of diseases including diabetes, cancer, paralysis, and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer's.
The research paper has been published in the journal Stem Cell Research and authored by Khyati Raina, Gaurav Joshi, Kirti Modak, Chitra Premkumar, Sweety Priyanka, Praveena Rajesh, Shaji Velayudhan and Rajkumar P Thummer.
Rajkumar P Thummer, assistant professor, department of biosciences and bioengineering, IIT Guwahati, said, “The human body is made of many kinds of cells – nerve cells, heart cells, liver cells, pancreatic cells, and so on, with unique structures and functions. All these distinctive cells originate from stem cells to perform a specific function. Lack of any of this cell types in a human body will result in a disease or disorder. Thus, stem cells can be programmed to develop into mature functional cells, which can be used to replace damaged cells.”
As per the IIT Guwahati’s research, the conventional methods used extracting of stem cells from embryos or specific adult tissues. The team in their latest research used a method similar to the 2012 Nobel-winning research by Shinya Yamanaka. They introduced specific genes into skin cells to reprogram them into iPSCs. According to the team it used a safe, integration-free technique that preserves the cells' genetic makeup and eliminates the risk of immune rejection.
The generated iPSCs were found to be versatile, maintaining their genetic integrity and potential to differentiate into various cell types according to the institute.
The collaboration between IIT Guwahati and CMC Vellore aligns with India's commitment to advancing stem cell research. The government, through the Department of Health Research-Indian Council of Medical Research (DHR-ICMR), supports stem cell research and has fostered initiatives like advanced research centres, thematic task forces, and iPSC generation.
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