Pharma Tips

New Technique Stops Stem Cell Differentiation

By: Pharma Tips | Views: 1644 | Date: 26-Jul-2011

Higher yields of pluripotent stem cellsA NEW technique to culture adult stem cells has been developed by researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Southampton, UK, which greatly lessens premature differentiation.

Higher yields of pluripotent stem cells


A NEW technique to culture adult stem cells has been developed by researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Southampton, UK, which greatly lessens premature differentiation.

Adult stem cells are increasingly being used or investigated as treatments for a range of medical conditions including cancer, Alzheimer’s and arthritis. However, culturing adult stem cells in sufficient quantities for therapeutic use is difficult as they differentiate into body tissues. Chemicals used to slow the differentiation have only limited effectiveness.

Matthew Dalby, from Glasgow’s biomedical and life sciences department, with Nikolaj Gadegaard and Richard Oreffo of the University of Southampton, led the research to develop a new nanoscale plastic culture surface which could solve the problem.
The nano patterned surface was designed and made at Glasgow, and is covered with 120 nm-sized pits. The surface allows the stem cells to grow and retain their pluripotency. The researchers created the surface using an injection-moulding technique similar to that used to produce Blu-ray discs. They say this is a cheap and easy way to solve the problem of differentiation and culture larger quantities of stem cells.

“What we and our colleagues at the University of Southampton have shown is that this new nanostructure surface can be used to very effectively culture mesenchymal stem cells, taken from sources such as bone marrow, which can then be put to use in musculoskeletal, orthopaedic and connective tissues,” said Dalby.

He added that the team is working to make the surface commercially available for the growth of mesenchymal stem cells, and hopes that the technique will work for other stem cells. If so, he said, it could be the first step on the road to large-scale stem cell culture factories.
Oreffo said: “If this new technology enables us to create sufficient stem cells, and to pattern hip implants for example, it could herald the development of new medical devices with therapeutic application and approaches to understanding stem cell fate and regulation.”

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