Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Biomolecular Screening
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Stem Cells: How to Predict Their Fate

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Technique has potential for regenerative medicine and drug development.

University of Toronto researchers have developed a method that can rapidly screen human stem cells and better control what they will become - a technology that could be used for regenerative medicine and drug development.

The findings are published in this week's issue of the journal Nature Methods.

“The work allows for a better understanding of how to turn stem cells into clinically useful cell types more efficiently,” said Emanuel Nazareth, a PhD student at U of T's Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME). The research comes out of the lab of Professor Peter Zandstra, Canada Research Chair in Bioengineering at U of T.

The researchers used human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC), cells which have the potential to differentiate and eventually become any type of cell in the body. But the key to getting stem cells to grow into specific types of cells, such as skin cells or heart tissue, is to grow them in the right environment in culture, and there have been challenges in getting those environments (which vary for different types of stem cells) just right, Nazareth said.

The researchers developed a high-throughput platform, which uses robotics and automation to test many compounds or drugs at once, with controllable environments to screen hPSCs in. With it, they can control the size of the stem cell colony, the density of cells, and other parameters in order to better study characteristics of the cells as they differentiate or turn into other cell types. Studies were done using stem cells in micro-environments optimized for screening and observing how they behaved when chemical changes were introduced .

Researchers found that two specific proteins within stem cells, Oct4 and Sox2, can be used to track the four major early cell fate types that stem cells can turn into, allowing four screens to be performed at once.

“One of the most frustrating challenges is that we have different research protocols for different cell types. But as it turns out, very often those protocols don’t work across many different cell lines,” Nazareth said.

The work also provides a way to study differences across cell lines that can be used to predict certain genetic information, such as abnormal chromosomes. What’s more, these predictions can be done in a fraction of the time compared to other existing techniques, and for a substantially lower cost compared to other testing and screening methods.

“We anticipate this technology will underpin new strategies to identify cell fate control molecules, or even drugs, for a number of different stem cell types,” Zandstra said.

As a drug screening technology "it’s a dramatic improvement over its predecessors,” said Nazareth. He notes that in some cases, the new technology can drop testing time from up to a month to a mere two days.

Professor Zandstra was awarded the 2013 Till & McCulloch Award in recognition of this contribution to global stem cell research.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,900+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Cancer-causing Protein “Turned Off”
Clinical trials on the horizon for experimental cancer drug.
Friday, December 04, 2015
How Disease-Related Proteins Work; a "Truly Momentous" Discovery
Researchers are helping demystify an important class of proteins associated with disease.
Tuesday, July 09, 2013
University of Toronto Breakthrough Allows Fast, Reliable Identification of Pathogens
Researchers have created an electronic chip that can analyze blood and other clinical samples for infectious bacteria with record-breaking speed.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Scientific News
Automated Patch Clamping Trends
Learn more about current practices, preferences and metrics in ion channel drug screening using APC technology.
Mechanisms of Calcium Blockers
Researchers describe how the fundamental mode of action of two distinct chemical classes of calcium channel blockers differs.
Breakthrough in GPCR Understanding
Integral Molecular announces breakthrough in understanding the functionality of GPCRs, the largest class of drug targets in human disease.
Enzyme that Triggers Cell Demise in ALS Identified
Scientists from Harvard have identified a key instigator of nerve cell damage in people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Fly Study into Therapies for HVP-Induced Cancer
Fruit flies may help scientists understand the mechanism by which HPV can cause cancer as well as identify potential drug treatments.
World's Most In-Depth Study to Detect Alzheimer's Disease
A multisite team will see the most thorough and vigorous testing for Alzheimer's ever performed on volunteers.
'Missing Evolutionary Link' of Natural Drug Source Found
Scripps Florida study finds 'missing evolutionary link' of a widely used natural drug source
Grad Student's Finding Enables Rapid Compound Screening
Grad student makes technical leap that could enable rapid screening of anti-cancer compounds.
Uncovering Constructor Proteins
Scientists have discovered a new bacterial cell wall builder that could be a target for antibiotic development.
Cholesterol Linked to Aggressive Cancers
Research suggests fats, such as cholesterol, can increase aggressive cancer progression.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,900+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!