Average life expectancy is continuing to rise, and with that trend age-related degenerative and chronic diseases increase also. New stem cell research which focuses on iPSCs or induced pluripotent stem cells, has shown promise for the aging population for cell based treatments such as organ replacement. The evidence shows that the age of donors does not appear to influence functionality. This offers promising hope for improvement in quality of life and longevity in older populations.
iPSCs are stem cells that can be generated directly from adult stem cells. They are derived by introducing products or specific sets of reprogramming factors into a given cell type. The review of current data on iPSCs has shown that older adults may benefit from iPSCs for personalized regenerative treatments and also for modeling genetic diseases. iPSCs may therefore be a viable alternative to embryonic stem cells (ESCs) which have limitations and include ethical concerns. It has been previously thought that ESCs are the only reliable source for cells that are young and do not accumulate the same level of damage to cells as do older cells.
Analysis does show that the donor age may interfere with how well the cells of their body will change into iPSCs. It does appear that regenerated stem cells may be rejuvenated resulting in some aging symptoms reversed. These iPSCs do show functionality improvement when analyzed with regular body cells. These cells can be discerned into mature body cells with younger stem cell donor efficiency. An elderly patient?s stem cells could be made into other cells and ultimately used for variety of treatments.
There are questions to be answered such as will cells from older donors indicate increased damaging mutations which is not typically seen in younger stem cell donors? And will mutations continue through the transformation?
iPSC research is still in its infancy and questions still remain. Stem cell function would need to be assessed for proper testing and stability of genes. Also protocols would need to be established so that various lab results can be compared. However, the research highlights the enormous potential for treating the elderly with iPSCs.
To view the original scientific study click here: Age Is Relative Impact of Donor Age on Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cell Functionality