Stem Cells and CRISPR/Cas9
Regenerative medicine deals with the 'process of replacing, engineering or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function'. Regenerative medicine includes the possibility of growing tissues and organs in the laboratory and implanting them when the body cannot repair itself. Some of the biomedical approaches within the field of regenerative medicine may involve the use of stem cells.
In the research arena we can work with different kind of stem cells, including embryonic stem cells (ESs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The stem cells with the least ethical issues and with the greatest potential are iPSCs. They can be generated directly from adult cells. The iPSC technology was pioneered by Dr Yamanaka’s (Kyoto, Japan), who showed that the use of 4 transcription factors could convert adult cells into pluripotent stem cells.
Pluripotent stem cells hold promise in the field of regenerative medicine, but also in studying genetic disease, because they can propagate indefinitely, as well as give rise to every other cell type in the body (such as vascular, neurons, heart, pancreatic, and liver cells).
The CRISPR/Cas system is a vital tool for use within stem cell research. The CRISPR/Cas system will enable unique opportunities in cell therapies in order to study genetic disease and to develop novel patient specific therapeutics.