Cellular Dynamics International has announced the online publication of an article in the journal Blood demonstrating for the first time a methodology for researchers to access the biology stored in repositories of banked blood samples through the creation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
According to the article, entitled “Human lymphoblastoid B-cell lines reprogrammed to EBV-free induced pluripotent stem cells,” the derived iPSCs retained genotypic identity and were differentiated into cell types comprising all three germ layers in the body, including blood, heart, neural, and liver cells.
Blood samples are often banked as reference material from the study of various diseases, rare genetic disorders and genome wide association studies (GWAS).
To bank these blood lines, they are genetically modified through the introduction of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) to enable them to be frozen, thawed and proliferate indefinitely, known as “immortalization.”
This Blood paper describes the ability to take small volumes of EBV-transformed blood and create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), as well as terminally differentiated somatic cells, that do not contain the EBV genetic modification.
“CDI’s published methodology enables the unprecedented opportunity to take samples from disease cohort repositories worldwide, where blood has been collected and immortalized from patients with a wide variety of diseases and known genotypic and phenotypic backgrounds, and create iPSC-based human cellular models for disease research and drug discovery,” said Nick Seay, CDI Chief Technology Officer and an author of the paper.
Seay continued, “Our ability to take samples of banked blood and create EBV-free iPSCs, and use that material to manufacture cells in the quantity, quality and purity required for research, is an important step forward in the study of human biology and understanding the promise of regenerative medicine. CDI’s research truly enables the study of human biology in a dish.”
While prior research on these blood samples from healthy and diseased cohorts enabled the study of the patients’ DNA, this new capability to create iPSCs free of EBV now enables researchers to study any cell type created from these known samples.
“This is the next big step in leveraging the wealth of information in biological repositories worldwide to improve healthcare,” said Seay.