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: Bitter food but good medicine from cucumber genetics

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

Parasitic worm genomes: largest-ever dataset released

6 hours ago

The largest collection of helminth genomic data ever assembled has been published in the new, open-access WormBase-ParaSite. Developed jointly by EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, this new ...

Bitter food but good medicine from cucumber genetics

Nov 27, 2014

High-tech genomics and traditional Chinese medicine come together as researchers identify the genes responsible for the intense bitter taste of wild cucumbers. Taming this bitterness made cucumber, pumpkin ...

New button mushroom varieties need better protection

Nov 27, 2014

A working group has recently been formed to work on a better protection of button mushroom varieties. It's activities are firstly directed to generate consensus among the spawn/breeding companies to consider ...

Cataloguing 10 million human gut microbial genes

Nov 25, 2014

Over the past several years, research on bacteria in the digestive tract (gut microbiome) has confirmed the major role they play in our health. An international consortium, in which INRA participates, has developed the most ...

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.