Somatic cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells by introducing a combination of several transcription factors. The induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from a patient's somatic cells could be useful source of cells for drug discovery and cell transplantation therapies. However, most human iPS cells are made by viral vectors, such as retrovirus and lentivirus, which integrate the reprogramming factors into host genomes and may increase the risk of tumor formation. Studies of the mechanisms underlying the reprogramming and establishment of non-integration methods contribute evidence to resolve the safety concerns associated with iPS cells. On the other hand, patient-specific iPS cells have already been established and used for recapitulating disease pathology.
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