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10 Years of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: From Theory to Accessible Research Tools

Do you remember what you were doing 29 June – 1 July 2006? It’s a period of time that the attendees of the International Society for Stem Cell Research 4th Annual Meeting and subsequently the entire stem cell research community will not have forgotten. For it was during this period that Professor Shinya Yamanaka first presented the work of his team showing that just four transcription factors were required to transform a skin cell into a pluripotent stem cell.

This technology is now called reprogramming and the cells generated from its use are termed induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the paper from Prof. Yamanaka’s group detailing how iPS cells can be generated from adult human fibroblasts1. Since the technology to generate them was profiled, human iPSC cells have been increasingly used in cell biology research, toxicology studies, disease modelling and regenerative medicine. The ability of iPS cells to be cultured in vitro in a pluripotent state and the potential to differentiate them into any cell type has made them a highly sought after research tool.

The demand and requirement for high-quality iPS cell cells lead to significant investment into developing easy to access repositories of human iPS cell lines derived from both healthy volunteers and patients with a variety of genetic diseases. Two of the most notable collections are the EBiSC and HipSci iPS cell banks, which were respectively developed using funding from the European Innovative Medicines Initiative and joint funding from the UK based Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council. Collectively, these two collections currently contain over 800 iPS cell lines and new lines are continually being added. ECACC is the official distributing partner for both the EBiSC and HipSci collections and iPS cell lines from either collection can be easily ordered from our website.



  1. Takahashi, Kazutoshi et al., 2007. Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Adult Human Fibroblasts by Defined Factors. Cell , Volume 131 , Issue 5 , 861 - 872


January 2020