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

Stem Cells Could Set Up Future Transplant Therapies

Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, October 31, 2013
Bookmark and Share
New method for developing stem cells enables production of liver and pancreatic cells in clinically relevant quantities.

Scientists have developed a new method for creating stem cells for the human liver and pancreas. This method could enable both cell types to be grown in sufficient quantities for clinical use.

Using the technique, researchers have for the first time been able to grow a pure, self-renewing population of stem cells specific to the human foregut - the section of the digestive system that includes the liver and pancreas. These digestive cells could then be developed further to produce liver or pancreatic cells.

Stem cells have the potential to be used to replace dying or damaged cells with healthy cells and have potential wide-ranging uses in medicine such as organ replacement, bone replacement and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

This method significantly improves on existing techniques for cultivating these stem cells and raises the possibility that, with further work, they could be grown in large numbers. That would make it possible to use them for regenerative therapies, such as repairing damaged organs or tissues in the body.

"We have developed a cell culture system which allows us to specifically isolate foregut cells in the lab," Dr Nicholas Hannan, from the University of Cambridge Wellcome Trust MRC Stem Cell Institute, Department for Surgery, explained. Hannan led the study, which was carried out in the lab of Dr Ludovic Vallier, joint Faculty member of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the University of Cambridge.

"These cells have huge implications for regenerative medicine, because they are the precursors to the thyroid, upper airways, lungs, liver, pancreas, stomach and biliary systems. We now have a system where we may be able to create all these cell types from the same starting population."

To grow pancreatic or liver cells, stem cells are differentiated into the endoderm - the primary tissue layer associated with the digestive and respiratory systems. This provides a base population of cells that researchers can then try to develop as more specialised cells, such as heart or lung cells. Unfortunately, other cell types can grow, making it difficult to identify the target cells in the lab and complicating the application of these cells in transplant therapies.

The new approach overcomes some of these problems that currently limit scientists’ ability to grow cells associated with this region in sufficiently large numbers for clinical use.

By manipulating the signal pathways of the cells and varying the environment in which the cells were developed, researchers were able to isolate the precise treatments needed to drive differentiation of cells associated with the foregut itself. When heavily contaminated stem cell populations were developed under these conditions, the contaminating cells eventually died out.

The universal nature of this culture system takes a step towards a universal system that could be used to treat any patient requiring cells for transplantation purposes.

The cells generated are true stem cells because they are able to self-renew and can differentiate towards any part of the foregut. Because they are also still at the stage where they can self-renew, they can be grown in large enough numbers to be used in clinical therapies. The team was also able to show that these human foregut stem cells do not form tumours, which means that they could be safely injected for therapeutic purposes, without having adverse side effects.

"What we have now is a better starting point - a sustainable platform for producing liver and pancreatic cells," Dr Ludovic Vallier, senior author of the study, said. "It will improve the quality of the cells that we produce and it will allow us to produce the large number of uncontaminated cells we need for the clinical application of stem cell therapy."


Further Information
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 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ 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.


Scientific News
Women’s Immune System Genes Operate Differently from Men’s
A new technology reveals that immune system genes switch on and off differently in women and men, and the source of that variation is not primarily in the DNA.
DNA Damage Seen in Patients Undergoing CT Scanning
Along with the burgeoning use of advanced medical imaging tests over the past decade have come rising public health concerns about possible links between low-dose radiation and cancer.
Yeast Cells Use Signaling Pathway to Modify Their Genomes
Researchers at the Babraham Institute and Cambridge Systems Biology Centre, University of Cambridge have shown that yeast can modify their genomes to take advantage of an excess of calories in the environment and attain optimal growth.
New Material Forges the Way for 'Stem Cell Factories'
Researchers have discovered the first fully synthetic substrate with potential to grow billions of stem cells. The researchcould forge the way for the creation of 'stem cell factories' - the mass production of human embryonic (pluripotent) stem cells.
New Measurements Reveal Differences Between Stem Cells for Treating Retinal Degeneration
By growing two types of stem cells in a “3-D culture” and measuring their ability to produce retinal cells, a team lead by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital researchers has found one cell type to be better at producing retinal cells.
Researchers Identify Critical Genes Responsible for Brain Tumor Growth
After generating new brain tumor models scientists have identified the role of a family of genes underlying tumor growth in a wide spectrum of high grade brain tumors.
Growing Spinal Disc Tissue
Scientists develop new method for growing spinal disc tissue in the lab for combating chronic back pain.
A New Path Towards a Universal Flu Vaccine
New research suggests it may be possible to harness a previously unknown mechanism within the immune system to create more effective and efficient vaccines against this ever-mutating virus.
Potential New Class of Cancer Drugs
Scientists have found a way to stop cancer cell growth by targeting the Warburg Effect, a trait of cancer cell metabolism that scientists have been eager to exploit.
Human Trials of Manufactured Blood Within Two Years
The first human trials of lab-produced blood to help create better-matched blood for patients with complex blood conditions has been announced by NHS Blood and Transplant.
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
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
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!