Scientists from Japan have developed a novel method to induce stem cell generation from the blood samples of dogs.
Their findings are published in Stem Cells and Development.
In humans, modern efforts to fight degenerative and chronic diseases have culminated in the development of regenerative therapies, largely based on stem cells. These ‘baby’ cells have the potential to differentiate and mature into many specialised cell types—called ‘pluripotency’.
By transplanting stem cells and guiding their differentiation into desired cell types, researchers are effectively able to regenerate damaged tissues, thereby reversing the course of various complex diseases.
Although this technology is widely studied in humans, the potential for stem cell therapy in dogs is lacking.
To address this, a research team from Osaka Prefecture University, has been working on isolating ‘induced pluripotent stem cells’ (iPSCs) from canine blood samples. iPSCs are a type of stem cell that can be ‘programmed’ from a developed (or ‘differentiated’) cell by introducing a specific set of genes into them. These genes code for proteins called ‘transcription factors’, which induce the change from a differentiated to a pluripotent stem cell, which then have the ability to mature into various cell types. iPSCs can proliferate very rapidly, providing a reliable supply of suitable stem cells for regenerative therapies.
“We successfully established an efficient and easy generation method of canine iPSCs from peripheral blood mononuclear cells,” lead researcher Associate Professor Shingo Hatoya said.
Through this technique, the scientists hope to advance regenerative therapies in veterinary medicine. This would mean that, in the near future, veterinarians might be able to reverse conditions in dogs that were previously thought incurable.