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A recent study by researchers at the University of Oxford and Koç University in Istanbul revealed new epigenetic inhibitors that substantially increase the efficiency of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) generation by overcoming intrinsic somatic cell barriers.

Horizontal portrait of Professor Udo Oppermann

The research published in Nature Chemical Biology can dramatically improve the technology around induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and their application in medical research.

iPSCs hold therapeutic potential in regenerative medicine and enable personalised drug discovery efforts and understanding the patient-specific basis of disease. They are typically derived by introducing pluripotency-associated genes, or "reprogramming factors", into a given somatic cell type, in what is currently a slow and inefficient process.

We have discovered that newly developed CBP/EP300 bromodomain inhibitors decrease histone lysine acetylation, chromatin accessibility and expression of genes related to somatic cell identity and promote transition to the stem cell state. This result adds important information how to significantly improve the iPSC technology” says Associate Professor Tamer Onder at Koç University.

Professor Udo Oppermann, from the University of Oxford, adds: "This study, supported by the Royal Society under Newton-Katip Celebi Fund grant scheme, is a wonderful example how international teams can effectively collaborate by student and scientist exchanges. We are very grateful for this support and will continue this exciting collaboration to advance stem cell epigenetic studies".

Currently the teams are continuing their collaborative research into further epigenetic factors that facilitate and improve the production and application of iPSCs in medical research.

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