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Video Text Alternative: Meet Our Researchers: Dr. Reijo Pera explains the value of stem cells

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Meet Our Researchers

Dr. Reijo Pera discusses stem cells

NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development logo
GRAPHIC SLIDE: Renee A. Reijo Pera, Ph.D.

Dr. Reijo Pera on camera.
Dr. Reijo Pera: So human embryonic stem cells were made from human embryos, and the NIH has approved—I believe it's around 200 different human embryonic stem cell lines for use. Because the cells are from the human embryo and the human embryo can make every cell type in our body, the human embryonic stem cells have the potential to make the different cell types. They don't organize obviously in a body form in a dish, but they can make the different cell types.

Induced pluripotent stem [IPS] cells are those that come from the skin, and we add some genes. We overexpress some genes that are normally expressed in human embryonic stem cells. And that changes their fate from skin cells to look like embryonic cells.

And we use both kinds of cells for different reasons. If we want to understand natural development, how things might occur from the native embryonic cells, we use embryonic stem cells. If we want to understand why a person might be infertile, then we would derive a stem cell line from that person and look at their genetic makeup. And so there's different reasons to use both types of cell types.
Camera Cut.

Dr. Reijo Pera on camera.
Dr. Reijo Pera: So anybody in a room, we can make an IPS line in about 2 weeks now and so we can have the genetic diversity of the human population at our hands.
Last Updated Date: 12/18/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 12/18/2013
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