This compound, named reversine, causes cells which are normally programmed to form muscles to undergo reverse differentiation--retreat along their differentiation pathway and turn into precursor cells.
These precursor cells are multipotent; that is, they have the potential to become different cell types. Thus, reversine represents a potentially useful tool for generating unlimited supply of such precursors, which subsequently can be converted to other cell types, such as bone or cartilage.
"This [type of approach] has the potential to make stem cell research more practical," says Sheng Ding, Ph.D. "This will allow you to derive stem-like cells from your own mature cells, avoiding the technical and ethical issues associated with embryonic stem cells."
Ding, who is an assistant professor in the chemistry department at Scripps Research conducted the study--to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society--with Peter G. Schultz, Ph.D., who is a professor of chemistry and Scripps Family Chair of Scripps Research's Skaggs Institute of Chemical Biology, and their colleagues.
Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Therapy
Stem cells have huge potential in medicine because they have the ability to differentiate into many different cell types--potentially providing doctors with the ability to produce cells that have been permanently lost by a patient.
For instance, the damage of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's, in which dopaminergic neurons in the brain are lost, may be ameliorated by regenerating neurons. Another example of a potential medical application is Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition in which pancr
Contact: Jason Bardi
Scripps Research Institute