iPSCs have the potential to treat a wide range of intractable diseases. In recent years, human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have gained popularity as a potentially ideal cell candidate for regenerative medicine. hESCs are derived from the inner cell mass of the blastocyte and can be kept in an undifferentiated, self-renewing state indefinitely. In contrast to adult somafic cells, hESCs have the advantage of being pluripotent, which endows them with the ability to differentiate into virtually every cell type in the human body. However, the clinical use of human embryos is controversial in the US, and the problem of tissue rejection following transplantation in patients remains difficult. One way to circumvent these issues is to generate autologous iPSCs. Successful reprogramming of adult fibroblast cells into iPSCs based on defined factors was reported independently in 2008 by Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University, Japan {Oct4, Sox2, Klf4, c-Myc) and James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin (Ocf4, Sox2, Nanog, Lin28) (2). The main advantage of iPSCs is that they eliminate the need for human embryos or oocytes to generate patient-specific stem, cells and therefore can potentially bypass the ethical and political debates that have traditionally limited support for this field. A second important advantage is that the use of IPSCs obviates the need for immunosuppressive therapy because the cells are patient-specific. With the rapid progress in the iPSC field, patient-specific and disease-specific iPSCs from individuals with a variety of genetic diseases, such as Duchenne (DMD) and Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), Parkinson's disease (PD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Huntington disease (HD) have been generated(3,4). Furthermore, different derivatives and cell types have also been generated from IPSCs such as cardiomyocytes and motor neurons (4,5), making iPSCs an attractive candidate for regenerative medicine.

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