In the British scientific journal, Nature, the international research team led by Dr. Haruko Obokata, comprising scientists from the RIKEN Centre in Kobé (Japan) and Havard University (USA), announced this week that they had discovered a new way of obtaining stem cells. This "revolutionary" discovery opens up new avenues for regenerative medicine.
The Japanese team at the RIKEN Centre have managed to create murine pluripotent stem cells. Unlike IPS cells, which are obtained through genetic manipulation and the integration of a virus, a simpler process is used to obtain STAP cells. "Scientists have simply modified the cell environment by exposing them to a stressful situation (lack of oxygen, temperature, etc.)", which explains why they are known as STAP cells: Stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotence. "This regeneration phenomenon associated with a change in the environment has already been observed in plants but not in mammals up until now".
However, the clinical application of this new method must not be implemented too early, given the fact that "precautions must be taken". It should be remembered that a period of six years elapsed between the discovery of IPS cells by Professor Yamanaka and the first clinical trial in 2012.