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 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,700+ 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.

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
Lasers Carve the Path to Tissue Engineering
A new technique, developed at EPFL, combines microfluidics and lasers to guide cells in 3D space, overcoming major limitations to tissue engineering.
New Therapy Treats Autoimmune Disease Without Harming Normal Immunity
Preclinical study from Penn shows that engineered T cells can selectively target the antibody-producing cells that cause autoimmune disease.
Harnessing An Innate Repair Mechanism Enhances The Success Of Retinal Transplantation
Cross-species research in flies and mice could help solve a major roadblock to successful stem cell replacement therapies in degenerative diseases of the retina, including age-related macular degeneration.
A New Way Out for Stem Cells
Researchers at North Carolina State University have discovered that therapeutic stem cells exit the bloodstream in a different manner than was previously thought.
Manufactured Stem Cells To Advance Clinical Research
Clinical-grade cell line will enable development of new therapies and accelerate early-stage clinical research.
Starving Stem Cells May Enable Scientists To Build Better Blood Vessels
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine have uncovered how changes in metabolism of human embryonic stem cells help coax them to mature into specific cell types — and may improve their function in engineered organs or tissues.
Long-Term Culturing of Adult Stem Cells
A new procedure developed by Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers (HSCI) at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) may revolutionize the culturing of adult stem cells.
Naked Mole Rat Exhibits “Extraordinary” Cancer Resistance
Scientists are getting closer to understanding the anti-cancer mechanism of the naked mole rat by making induced pluripotent stem cells.
Solutions for Biotherapeutic Characterization
Innovation to speed the routine.
Reclaiming The Immune System's Assault On Tumors
EPFL study shows a way to reclaim corrupted immune cells.
Skyscraper Banner

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
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!