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New Method Increases Supply of Embryonic Stem Cells

By: Varsha Prasad, Genetics ’15

A study to employ a new method of generating human embryonic stem cells without destroying any human embryos is currently being conducted by an international research team led by Karl Tryggvason, Professor Medical Chemistry at Karolinska Institutet and a Professor at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore.

The researchers developed a method in which embryonic stem cells can be obtained from a single cell of an eight-cell embryo, which can then be refrozen and placed in the woman’s uterus.  This prevents the need to destroy human embryos in the process.  The idea is that the embryo can survive a single cell removal.

Stem cells are desired for their ability to divide into any type of cell.  Ultimately the goal of cell therapy is to be able to regenerate these cells, whether it be cells of different hormones, such as insulin or dopamine, or cells of different muscle types, i.e. heart and muscle cells.

This new method of supplying embryonic stem cells reduces the ethical dilemma behind stem cell culturing and increases the supply of human embryonic stem cells which can then be used for stem cell therapy.

Journal Reference:

  1. 1. Sergey Rodin, Liselotte Antonsson, Colin Niaudet, Oscar E. Simonson, Elina Salmela, Emil M. Hansson, Anna Domogatskaya, Zhijie Xiao, Pauliina Damdimopoulou, Mona Sheikhi, José Inzunza, Ann-Sofie Nilsson, Duncan Baker, Raoul Kuiper, Yi Sun, Elisabeth Blennow, Magnus Nordenskjöld, Karl-Henrik Grinnemo, Juha Kere, Christer Betsholtz, Outi Hovatta, Karl Tryggvason. Clonal culturing of human embryonic stem cells on laminin-521/E-cadherin matrix in defined and xeno-free environment. Nature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI:10.1038/ncomms4195

stem-cell-harvest

Photo Credit: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/04/29/176999/stem-cells-win/#