Stem Cell Research Made Safer with Latest Discovery

May 15, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new development in stem cell research has resulted from a completed study by a collaboration of scientists using the drug Rapamycin to inhibit mTOR, an intracellular protein necessary in cell proliferation. UCR’s Jiayu Liao, assistant professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Bourns College of Engineering, recently published a paper on the results in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences dealing with human embryonic stem cell pluripotency.

His team inhibited mTOR using Rapamycin, a drug approved by the , and found that pluripotency (the ability to create all cell types) was impaired, stem cell self-renew was prevented, and endodermal and mesodermal differentiation were enhanced.

“Stem cells can potentially develop into cancer,” Liao said. “That’s why it is important to be certain that any stem cells introduced into patients do not remain pluripotent, which has the potential to form tumors. The use of Rapamycin could potentially prevent this problem.”

Stem cells can differentiate into and of the three germ layers: the endoderm (interior stomach lining, , the lungs), the mesoderm (muscle, bone, blood, urogenital), or the ectoderm (epidermal tissues and nervous system). Pluripotent stem cells can give rise to any fetal or adult cell type. However, alone they cannot develop into a fetal or adult animal because they lack the potential to contribute to extra embryonic tissue, such as the placenta.

“You don’t want to maintain pluropotency when using stem cells for treatment,” Liao said. “You want them all to differentiate into one of the three germ layers.”

The discovery could have a significant impact on the future use of in regenerative medicine, he added. Rapamycin itself is also an which prevents rejection of organ transplantation from the host.

“It really opens the door for towards translational medicine” he said.

In addition, because the drug is FDA approved, there is no need to order clinical trials for safety so the method can be placed into treatment immediately.

Provided by University of California, Riverside

Explore further: Heaven scent: Finding may help restore fragrance to roses

Related Stories

Adult stem cells lack key pluripotency regulator

Oct 10, 2007

The protein Oct4 plays a major role in embryonic stem cells, acting as a master regulator of the genes that keep the cells in an undifferentiated state. Unsurprisingly, researchers studying adult stem cells have long suspected ...

New study hopeful on neural stem cells

Aug 05, 2006

Neural stem cells derived from federally approved human embryonic cells are inferior to stem cells derived from donated fetal tissue, a new study found.

Recommended for you

Study on pesticides in lab rat feed causes a stir

Jul 02, 2015

French scientists published evidence Thursday of pesticide contamination of lab rat feed which they said discredited historic toxicity studies, though commentators questioned the analysis.

International consortium to study plant fertility evolution

Jul 02, 2015

Mark Johnson, associate professor of biology, has joined a consortium of seven other researchers in four European countries to develop the fullest understanding yet of how fertilization evolved in flowering plants. The research, ...

Making the biofuels process safer for microbes

Jul 02, 2015

A team of investigators at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University have created a process for making the work environment less toxic—literally—for the organisms that do the heavy ...

Why GM food is so hard to sell to a wary public

Jul 02, 2015

Whether commanding the attention of rock star Neil Young or apparently being supported by the former head of Greenpeace, genetically modified food is almost always in the news – and often in a negative ...

The hidden treasure in RNA-seq

Jul 01, 2015

Michael Stadler and his team at the Friedrich Miescher institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) have developed a novel computational approach to analyze RNA-seq data. By comparing intronic and exonic RNA reads, ...

User comments : 0

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.