Life Technologies introduces CytoTune-iPS Reprogramming Kit

Life Technologies Corporation today announced the launch of CytoTune™-iPS Reprogramming Kit -- research technology that provides far improved efficiency over standard methods to develop induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from human somatic cells. The ability to more easily create larger numbers of these embryonic stem cell-like cells can expedite basic research and studies that target specific diseases.

Widely accepted methods for turning adult skin cells, for example, into iPSCs involve benign virus vectors that are used to deliver reprogramming genes.  The process, however, is woefully inefficient (reprogramming efficiency rates for standard methods range between 0.00001-0.01 percent) and runs the risk of leading to unwanted mutations since the vectors must insert themselves into the host cell's DNA – essentially altering the genome and leaving "footprints."

The CytoTune™-iPS Reprogramming Kit is based on zero-footprint technology that employs an RNA virus developed by the Japanese firm DNAVEC Corporation.  The benign vectors effectively do their job without DNA integration and can generate iPSCs with about 1 percent efficiency.

"This technology is the most successful method my lab has used to generate iPSCs," said Keiichi Fukuda, Ph.D., M.D. Professor and Chief, Department of Cardiology, and Vice Dean at the Keio University School of Medicine, whose research team demonstrated the effectiveness of CytoTune's RNA vector in a study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell.  "Considering the high efficiency of iPSC generation and absence of integration of the vectors into the host genome, this method is definitely the most powerful tool available for transgene-free iPSC induction and will have an enormous impact on the future direction of many fields utilizing iPSCs."

Efficient development of footprint-free iPSCs provides highly sought-after advantages for the basic research field.  Scientists who test existing or novel drugs in the hopes of treating specific diseases will now have quicker access to patient-derived cells that are physiologically accurate because they won't contain mutations that could be introduced during reprogramming.  The use of iPSCs as disease models was the subject of a study on Schizophrenia published April 14, 2011 in the journal Nature and of other recent studies.

The expediency of the kit's technology will also enable scientists to accelerate the number of experiments they can perform each week using iPSCs, a growing research field that circumvents the ethical concerns associated with embryonic stem cells because iPSCs are derived from adult tissues such as skin fibroblasts.  

CytoTune™-iPS Reprogramming Kit is part of Life Technologies' broader set of products, including KnockOut™ Serum Replacement and Gibco® B-27® Supplement, among others, used in laboratories worldwide to grow, characterize and study iPSCs.  

"The launch of this product fulfills a growing demand from our customers who have voiced their need for technology that provides the combined benefits of higher reprogramming efficiency with a zero footprint iPSCs," says Christopher Armstrong, Head of Primary & Stem Cells at Life Technologies.  "CytoTune™-iPS Reprogramming Kit complements our extensive portfolio of stem cell research tools."


Life Technologies Corporation


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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