How iPS Cells Changed the World

June 20, 2016

(Nature) – Ten years on, the goals have shifted — in part because those therapies have proved challenging to develop. The only clinical trial using iPS cells was halted in 2015 after just one person had received a treatment. But iPS cells have made their mark in a different way. They have become an important tool for modelling and investigating human diseases, as well as for screening drugs. Improved ways of making the cells, along with gene-editing technologies, have turned iPS cells into a lab workhorse — providing an unlimited supply of once-inaccessible human tissues for research. This has been especially valuable in the fields of human development and neurological diseases, says Guo-li Ming, a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, who has been using iPS cells since 2006.