Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have radically advanced the field of regenerative medicine by making possible the production of patient-specific pluripotent stem cells from adult individuals. While cell differentiation protocols have been successfully developed, and animal models of human disease have proved that these cells have the potential to treat human diseases and conditions produced as a consequence of aging, degeneration, injury, and birth defects, logistical issues still remain unsolved and hamper the possibility of testing these cells in human clinical trials. Among them is the widely spread use of animal products for the generation and culture of iPSCs. We report here a xeno-free iPSC generation system that addresses all the steps of iPSCs production including the isolation and culture of adult skin fibroblasts, and iPSCs generation, expansion, and maintenance. iPSCs generated with a polycistronic lentiviral vector under xeno-free conditions displayed markers of pluripotency and gave rise to embryoid bodies (EBs) displaying indicators of the 3 primary germ layers. Xeno-free iPSCs injected into nude mice produced classic teratomas, and teratoma explants cultured under conditions favoring fibroblastic cells gave rise to cells morphologically indistinguishable from input cells. Protocols here described will facilitate the implementation of new cellular therapies for preclinical and clinical studies, potentially reducing the regulatory burden without compromising the differentiation potential of the cells.
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