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Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Discovery

Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at Gladstone

Shinya Yamanaka’s discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in 2006 fundamentally changed biomedical research. He showed that skin cells can be reprogrammed into stem cells that, like embryonic stem cells, can develop into virtually any cell type in the body. This breakthrough opened up promising new avenues for both personalized and regenerative medicine, not only at Gladstone, but around the world.

Stem cell research has advanced rapidly since that discovery. Scientists at Gladstone now create stem cells from the skin cells of patients with a specific disease, which helps them to study the causes of disease and find novel treatments. Other Gladstone researchers transform adult cells directly into different types of cells without first converting them to stem cells. This direct approach improves the efficiency and scalability of cellular reprogramming. Still others are using chemical biology to reprogram cells without adding external genes.

Read about additional scientific advances made over the last decade at Gladstone here.



In 2012, Gladstone senior investigator Shinya Yamanaka was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells—cells that replicate indefinitely and can change into any cell type in the body. His breakthrough technique, first published in 2006, uses four proteins (called the Yamanaka factors) to convert skin cells back to a pluripotent stem cell state. Scientists across the globe now use iPS cells to study the mechanisms and pathology of disease and to develop potential treatments or cures.

Today, Yamanaka, and his close colleague Kazu Takahashi, also at Gladstone,  continue to improve iPS-cell technology. Yamanaka and his lab are working on ways to better understand exactly what happens when iPS cells are created and to make the process more efficient and viable for regenerative and personalized medicine.