Life Technologies Corporation has launched the TaqMan® hPSC Scorecard™ Panel, a first-of-its-kind characterization assay that establishes a standardized benchmark against which researchers can now evaluate pluripotency and trilineage differentiation potential in human embryonic (ES) and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines.
Life will showcase the technology during the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) conference in Boston June 12-15.
Until now, scientists have evaluated pluripotency - the potential for ES and iPS cells to differentiate into any cell type - with laborious, costly and non-standardized methods that provide ambiguous results.
Additionally, their inability to accurately determine cell lines' propensity to differentiate into one of the three primary cell germ layers has contributed to major hurdles that impede stem cell technology from moving into the clinic.
The TaqMan® hPSC Scorecard™ Panel, however, relies on a specific range of gene expression levels identified at Harvard University to accurately characterize cell lines in two critical areas: pluripotency and lineage bias.
The panel is also being offered with cloud-based software for rapid data analysis and data sharing among research collaborators.
"The rapid advancements in stem cell research over the last few years have created a need for more effective and standardized methods for characterizing pluripotent cells," said Alex Meissner, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University.
Meissner continued, "Today, the field of genomics is helping to meet that demand through development of novel approaches that can help deliver the promise of stem cells."
Life Technologies developed the TaqMan® hPSC Scorecard™ Panel in collaboration with Dr. Meissner. He is the lead author of a study in the journal Cell (Vol. 144, No. 3, pp. 439-452, Feb. 4, 2011) who identified a range of expression levels among key genes associated with pluripotency.
By measuring gene activity in ES and iPS cells against the study's gene expression range, Dr. Meissner's lab was able to accurately score cells for their potential to differentiate into particular cell lineages.
Standardizing characterization allows researchers to work more efficiently by enabling them to quickly identify the most promising cells.
It also helps accelerate various applications, including development of "disease-in-a-dish" models from patient-derived cells, drug screening and eventual use of pluripotent cells as a renewable source for transplantation medicine.
"It has become increasingly critical for researchers to consistently and accurately characterize the cells they are working with, particularly to realize the promise of stem cell-based technology in drug discovery and clinical applications," said Chris Armstrong, Ph.D., General Manager and Vice President of Primary and Stem Cell Systems at Life Technologies.
Armstrong continued, "As such, the launch of this novel characterization panel supports our continued commitment to provide our customers with the most innovative products across the pluripotent stem cell workflow."
Dr. Meissner will give a presentation on his lab's use of the TaqMan® hPSC Scorecard™ Panel during one of two Innovation Showcases Life Technologies will host at ISSCR in Room 257 A-B on June 14. His talk takes place from 12:30-1 p.m.
The second Innovation Showcase will feature Dr. Birgitt Schuele, M.D., Assistant Professor, Clinical Molecular Geneticist, The Parkinson's Institute, who will present her lab's use of Sendai virus-based CytoTune® reprogramming technologies to recapitulate phenotypes associated with Parkinson's Disease.
Her presentation will take place from 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. For more information on the Innovation Showcases, visit the Life Technologies ISSCR booth (# 630).
TaqMan® hPSC Scorecard™ Panel is For Research Use Only, not intended for diagnostic purposes.