Human embryonic stem cell lines created that avoid immune rejection

December 20, 2007

In a groundbreaking experiment published in Cloning & Stem Cells, scientists from International Stem Cell (ISC) Corp. derived four unique embryonic stem cell lines that open the door for the creation of therapeutic cells that will not provoke an immune reaction in large segments of the population. The stem cell lines are “HLA-homozygous,” meaning that they have a simple genetic profile in the critical areas of the DNA that code for immune rejection.

The lines could serve to create a stem cell bank as a renewable source of transplantable cells for use in cell therapy to replace damaged tissues or to treat genetic and degenerative diseases.

“This study has used a novel approach to producing cells that may one day be used to treat large numbers of patients. While there is a great deal of discussion about the possibility of producing stem cells for each patient this approach to therapy is unrealistic because of the enormous costs involved. Rather it is likely that treatment of large numbers of patients by cell therapy will only be possible if methods are found using any one cell line to treat very large numbers of patients. This very exciting paper represents a significant step forward towards the use of such cells in cell therapy,” says Ian Wilmut, PhD, journal Editor-in-Chief and Director of the Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the Queen’s Medical Research Institute, University of Edinburgh.

“Immune reaction is one of the most serious problems facing the development of stem cell therapy, and cell lines of this type may enable us to treat a large number of patients without immune rejection, offering an enormous practical advantage. Further research is required to confirm that the cells produced in this way are able to replace cells that have been lost in human degenerative disease.”

Jeffrey Janus, President of International Stem Cell and colleagues at the company and from the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, described the successful parthenogenetic activation of human oocytes and the subsequent derivation of cell lines having the morphology and markers characteristic of human embryonic stem cells. In a paper entitled, “HLA Homozygous Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Parthenogenetic Blastocysts,” the authors emphasize two key factors that would make this technology so valuable for future efforts to generate replacement tissues and organs and to use donor-derived cell repositories to develop cell-based therapies.

First, the four human parthenogenetic stem cell lines, designated as HpSC-Hhom, are HLA (human leukocyte antigen) homozygous. This makes it possible to match the HLA types of a donor and recipient, reducing the chances of provoking an immune reaction against the transplanted donor cells.

Second, the stem cells are derived from unfertilized donor eggs, not from fertilized embryos, so the technique does not carry the same ethical burden.

The future clinical relevance of this work will depend on the ability to reproduce these results and to demonstrate that the stem cell lines can be induced to form pluripotent progenitor cells and, ultimately, to differentiate into specific mature cell types that can be safely and successfully delivered to patients.

The paper was published online ahead of print in the Journal and is available online. The paper is part of the Spring 2008 (Volume 10, Number 1) issue of the Journal, which is published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

External link: www.liebertpub.com/publication.aspx?pub_id=9

Source: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

Explore further: How a single molecule turns one immune cell into another

Related Stories

How a single molecule turns one immune cell into another

July 30, 2015

All it takes is one molecule to reprogram an antibody-producing B cell into a scavenging macrophage. This transformation is possible, new evidence shows, because the molecule (C/EBPa, a transcription factor) "short-circuits" ...

Sex among eukaryotes is far more common than once believed

July 28, 2015

(Phys.org)—For a long time, biologists have considered sex to be an inherent trait of multicellular life, while microbial eukaryotes were considered to be either optionally sexual or purely clonal. From this perspective, ...

New material forges the way for 'stem cell factories'

July 22, 2015

If you experience a major heart attack the damage could cost you around five billion heart cells. Future stem cell treatments will require this number and more to ensure those cells are replaced and improve your chances of ...

Recommended for you

A cataclysmic event of a certain age

July 27, 2015

At the end of the Pleistocene period, approximately 12,800 years ago—give or take a few centuries—a cosmic impact triggered an abrupt cooling episode that earth scientists refer to as the Younger Dryas.

New blow for 'supersymmetry' physics theory

July 27, 2015

In a new blow for the futuristic "supersymmetry" theory of the universe's basic anatomy, experts reported fresh evidence Monday of subatomic activity consistent with the mainstream Standard Model of particle physics.

Dense star clusters shown to be binary black hole factories

July 29, 2015

The coalescence of two black holes—a very violent and exotic event—is one of the most sought-after observations of modern astronomy. But, as these mergers emit no light of any kind, finding such elusive events has been ...

Image: Hubble sees a dying star's final moments

July 31, 2015

A dying star's final moments are captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star's demise is still quite ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.