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Time Magazine mentioned using Mouse Retroviruses in Stem Cell studies

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greybeh

Guest
I hate to mention this because I know ZERO about biology but that's why I wanted to mention it here. I got stuck at the hospital yesterday (probably colitis, thankfully NOT gall bladder issues) - and I was reading TIME magazine of February 9, 2009.

An article by Alice Park lists on page 40-41 said that they were using mouse retroviruses in stem cell research. The title was "The Quest Resumes."

I just wonder if that could have even an ounce of significance. Why use mouse retroviruses? I'm not saying that stem cells have anything to do with our illness but maybe the retroviruses were used for other purposes in earlier years. Of course, one would assume that the mice are isolated from anyone who doesn't work in the lab.
 
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_Kim_

Guest
Hi greybeh,

Here's the article online: Stem-Cell Research: The Quest Resumes

2006: Shinya Yamanaka, Kyoto University, turns back the clock on mouse skin cells to create the first induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, or stem cells made without the use of embryos. He uses only four genes, which are inserted into a skin cell's genome using retrovirus vectors
 
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greybeh

Guest
Some images and text were not included on the online article. The part about the mouse retrovirus isn't there. :(
 
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How widespread is the use of mouse retroviruses to insert genes?

Some images and text were not included on the online article. The part about the mouse retrovirus isn't there. :(
Here is another article referring to using mouse retrovirus to insert genes into skin cells as part of the process to create stem cells.

Notice the risks included ending up with multiple copies of the retrovirus in the resulting cells with unknown risks including cancer: http://ukhealthcare.uky.edu/publications/AI/general/stemcells.asp

They whittled down the number of genes to four candidates each. Then they used a retrovirus to ferry the genes into human skin cells in a lab culture. For every 10,000 cells treated with this technique, Thomson was able to produce one pluripotent stem cell. Yamanakas method produced one in every 5,000 cells. In both cases, the stem cells created were a genetic match with the donor.

Benefits and limitations
Using a retrovirus to insert genes into a cell carries some risks. Many of the new stem cells the scientists created carried multiple copies of the retrovirus, which could result in mutations and cancer. One of the genes used in Yamanankas suite is a known cancer-causing gene.

Even with these limitations, the studies open the door for an understanding of disease mechanisms, drug screening and toxicology, Yamananka pointed out.

Once the safety issue is overcome, human iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells should also be applicable in regenerative medicine, he said.

The next step would be to uncover a way to create iPS cells without a retrovirus. Additionally, scientists need to find out if these cells differ significantly from embryonic stem cells.

In two related advances, scientists at MIT and the University of Alabama demonstrated for the first time that stem cells created by the method Thomson and Yamanaka used can cure sickle cell anemia in a mouse model. And researchers at the Oregon National Primate Research Center reported another firstthe successful cloning of a primate. As a result they were able to obtain embryonic stem cells, which could be useful in studying other diseases that also affect humans.
From above:
"Many of the new stem cells the scientists created carried multiple copies of the retrovirus, which could result in mutations and cancer."

Wasn't there something about multiple copies of XMRV found in some patients in recent studies?