Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Stem Cells, Cellular Therapy & Biobanking
>
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Cells Reprogrammed on the Computer

Published: Monday, August 05, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, August 05, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Scientists have developed a model that makes predictions from which differentiated cells– can be very efficiently changed into completely different cell types.

This can be done entirely without stem cells. These computer-based instructions for reprogramming cells are of huge significance for regenerative medicine. The LCSB researchers present their results today in the prestigious scientific journal “Stem Cells”. This is the first paper based solely on theoretical, yet practically proven, results of computational biology to be published in this journal. (DOI: 10.1002/stem.1473)

All cells of an organism originate from embryonic stem cells, which divide and increasingly differentiate as they do so. The ensuing tissue cells remain in a stable state; a skin cell does not spontaneously change into a nerve cell or heart muscle cell. “Yet the medical profession is greatly interested in such changes, nonetheless. They could yield new options for regenerative medicine,” says Professor Antonio del Sol, head of the Computational Biology group at LCSB. The applications could be of enormous benefit: When nerve tissue becomes diseased, for example, then doctors could take healthy cells from the patient’s own skin. They could then reprogram these to develop into nerve cells. These healthy nerve cells would then be implanted into the diseased tissue or even replace it entirely. This would treat, and ideally heal, diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

The techniques for cell programming are still in their infancy. Stem cell researchers Shinya Yamanaka and John Burdon received the Nobel Prize for converting differentiated body cells back into stem cells only last year. The first successful direct conversion of skin cells to nerve cells in the lab was in 2010. Biologists add refined cocktails of molecules, i.e. growth factors, to the cell cultures in a certain order. This allows them to control the genetic activity in the conversion process. However, this method so far has been largely guided by – educated – trial and error.

Variable jumping between different cell lines is possible

Now, the LCSB researchers have replaced trial and error with computer calculations, as computer scientist and PhD student at LCSB Isaac Crespo explains: “Our theoretical model first queries databases where vast amounts of information on gene actions and their effects are stored and then identifies the genes that maintain the stability of differentiated cells. Working from the appropriate records, the model suggests which genes in the starting cells need to be switched on and off again, and when, in order to change them into a different cell type.”

“Our predictions have proved very accurate in the lab,” says Professor del Sol: “And it turns out it makes no difference at all how similar the cells are. The models work equally well for cell lines that have only just branched off from one another as for those that are already very far apart.” Prof. del Sol’s and Crespo’s model thus allows highly variable jumping between very different cell types without taking a detour via stem cells.

The biologists and medical scientists still have their lab work cut out for them: They have to identify all the growth factors that initiate the respective genetic activities in the correct, predicted order.


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 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,500+ 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

New Clues For Early Colorectal Cancer Detection
Study identifies new biomarkers which could help detect colorectal cancer.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Scientific News
Turning Skin Cells into Heart, Brain Cells
In a major breakthrough, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes transformed skin cells into heart cells and brain cells using a combination of chemicals.
Stem Cells Know How to Unwind
Research led by the Babraham Institute with collaborators in the UK, Canada and Japan has revealed a new understanding of how an open genome structure supports the long-term and unrestricted developmental potential in embryonic stem cells.
Growing Stem Cells More Safely
Nurturing stem cells atop a bed of mouse cells works well, but is a non-starter for transplants to patients – Brown University scientists are developing a synthetic bed instead.
Cell Transplant Treats Parkinson’s in Mice
A University of Wisconsin—Madison neuroscientist has inserted a genetic switch into nerve cells so a patient can alter their activity by taking designer drugs that would not affect any other cell.
Skin Cells Turned into Heart Cells and Brain Cells Using Drugs
In a scientific first, Gladstone researchers have used chemical drugs to convert skin cells into heart cells and brain cells, without adding any external genes.
Shape Of Tumor May Affect Whether Cells Can Metastasize
Illinois researchers found that the shape of a tumor may play a role in how cancer cells become primed to spread.
‘Mini-Brains’ to Study Zika
Novel tool expected to speed research on brain and drug development.
Cytokine Triggers Immune Response at Expense of Blood Renewal
Research highlights promise of Anti-IL-1 drugs to treat chronic inflammatory disease.
AstraZeneca to Sequence 2 Million Genomes in Search for New Drugs
Company launches integrated genomics approach which aims to transform drug discovery and development.
Improving Engineered T-Cell Cancer Treatment
Purdue University researchers may have figured out a way to call off a cancer cell assassin that sometimes goes rogue and assign it a larger tumor-specific "hit list."
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
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!