The Nobel award-winning scientist that developed the groundbreaking work on induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, has said that he is frustrated with three common misconceptions about it versus the newly discovered STAP or stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency cells. Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka spoke at a news conference to clarify certain issues that can affect further work and studies in the field.
He said the most common mistake that media has written about it is that iPS cells have a higher risk of developing cancer than STAP cells. Late last December, a team of researchers led by another Japanese scientist, Haruko Obokata, announced that they were able to develop these STAP cells in mice. But Yamanaka said that the two use very different techniques and that it is quite “regrettable” that the comparison is being made, as the safety of iPS cells in humans is now still undergoing confirmation through clinical research.
Other misconceptions about the two kinds of revolutionary cell research is that the production efficiency of iPS is just .1% compared to the 30% of STAP and that the former is more difficult to engineer than the latter. He also said they would like to conduct studies on STAP cells to compare it to their earlier research which was first announced in 2006. But he emphasized that he believes the discovery of STAP cells is a huge boon for iPS researchers and would not hesitate to provide assistance to Obokata and her team should they ask for it. “I am really proud that (STAP cells) have been discovered by a young Japanese researcher. The findings are an excellent achievement. I feel extremely excited as a researcher,” he said. He also referred to both the iPS and STAP cells as “promising stars.”
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]