In 2006, Dr. Yamanaka created the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) by reprogramming adult fibroblasts back to an immature, pluripotent state. Effectively bypassing the ethical constraints of human embryonic stem cells, iPSCs have expanded the horizons of regenerative medicine by offering a means to derive autologous patient-matched cells and tissues for clinical transplantation. However, persisting safety concerns must be addressed prior to their widespread clinical application. In this review, we discuss the history of iPSCs, derivation strategies, and current research involving gene therapy and disease modeling. We review the potential of iPSCs for improving a range of cell-based therapies and obstacles to their clinical implementation.
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