Stem Cells

Stem Cells and iPS Cells

Stem cell therapy for Alzheimer’s disease receives considerable attention, particularly since UCI MIND investigators have pioneered this avenue of research. Stem cells are both controversial and exciting. The controversy surrounding stem cells is based on when the cells are harvested, with many individuals ethically objecting to the use human embryos. UCI MIND investigators do not use embryonic stem cells in their research. Likewise, it is critical to point out that many stem cells can be directly obtained from adults, thereby bypassing any ethical concerns.

Few discoveries in biology have as great a transformative potential for altering modern medical research as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Enhancing our ability to study and understand the impact of disease in human cells in ways not previously possible, iPS cells are special because they are both pluripotent and immortal: capable of giving rise to every cell type in the human body and allowing robust expansion and unprecedented resource sharing. Notably, iPS cells can be derived from skin samples. Through a minimally invasive procedure, any person, even older adults, can easily donate the skin cells needed to develop iPS cells. Given the promise of iPS cells, UCI MIND is seeking to establish a National Alzheimer’s Disease iPS Cell Bank as part of our Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. We believe this will be a valuable resource to for the entire Alzheimer’s research community, and fits with our pioneering role in stem cell research.