Breakthrough in stem cell culturing

May 31, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- For the first time, human embryonic stem cells have been cultured under chemically controlled conditions without the use of animal substances, which is essential for future clinical uses. The method has been developed by researchers at Karolinska Institutet and is presented in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Embryonic can be turned into any other type of cell in the body and have potential uses in treatments where sick cells need to be replaced. One problem, however, is that it is difficult to culture and develop human without simultaneously contaminating them. They are currently cultured with the help of proteins from animals, which rules out subsequent use in the treatment of humans. Alternatively the stem cells can be cultured on other human cells, known as feeder cells, but these release thousands of uncontrolled proteins and therefore lead to unreliable research results.

A research team at Karolinska Institutet (Sweden) has now managed to produce human stem cells entirely without the use of other cells or substances from animals. Instead they are cultured on a matrix of a single human protein: laminin-511.

"Now, for the first time, we can produce large quantities of human embryonic stem cells in an environment that is completely chemically defined," says professor Karl Tryggvason, who led the study. "This opens up new opportunities for developing different types of cell which can then be tested for the treatment of disease."

Together with researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the researchers have also shown that in the same way they can culture what are known as reprogrammed stem cells, which have been converted back from to stem cells.

Laminin-511 is part of our and acts in the body as a matrix to which cells can attach. In the newly formed embryo, the is also needed to keep stem cells as stem cells. Once the embryo begins to develop different types of tissue, other types of laminin are needed.

Until now, different types of laminin have not been available to researchers, because they are almost impossible to extract from tissues and difficult to produce. Over the last couple of decades, Karl Tryggvason's research group has cloned the genes for most human laminins, studied their biological role, described two genetic laminin diseases and, in recent years, even managed to produce several types of laminin using gene technology. In this latest experiment, the researchers produced the laminin-511 using recombinant techniques.

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More information: Long-term self-renewal of human pluripotent stem cells on human recombinant laminin-511, Nature Biotechnology, online 30 May 2010, doi:10.1038/nbt.1620

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User comments : 12

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Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (6) May 31, 2010
And everyone applauds whilst we have become a race of body harvesting murderers.

Ever read "Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus"?
TAz00
4.3 / 5 (6) May 31, 2010
Never read it, and yes I am applauding.

This will mean that, if I ever go blind, break my back, loose a thumb, neurodegenerative diseases or worse, there could be a real chance that I could be 100% fixed. And I hope this leads to extending life, so we may live forever.(this is of course extreme and very long away)

Why would we not pursue this? no one is harvesting anything
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (3) May 31, 2010
no one is harvesting anything


'course not, 'cause those little babie's ain't "life forms" right?

Hey hypocrite, you were just an "embryo" at one time too. Maybe we shoud freeze you so you're no longer "alive", then rip out your spine and study it.
maxcypher
5 / 5 (1) May 31, 2010
I don't think the process of the Swiss experiment is even remotely as violent as what goes on in your blinkered mind.
NamelessMaster
not rated yet May 31, 2010
If they can do this with ADULT cells we would have perfection: at least politically.
I just want them to "bud" a new set of teeth!

"Ah chew, perchance to crunch!" - DR. W. Shakespear, DDS

akotlar
not rated yet May 31, 2010
And everyone applauds whilst we have become a race of body harvesting murderers.

Ever read "Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus"?


Wait, you'll eventually understand why no one really cares about the religious-moral controversy of using human tissue to save and extend life. Personal difficulty is the quickest path to intellectual development.

If you feel, after you've encountered your terminal or chronic situation, that your life isn't worth saving, you always have the choice to forego "questionable" therapies, and rely on your religion or moral convictions to save you. Everyone should have a choice. Those of us that have respect for life would rather not waste our opportunity.
akotlar
not rated yet May 31, 2010
no one is harvesting anything


'course not, 'cause those little babie's ain't "life forms" right?

Hey hypocrite, you were just an "embryo" at one time too. Maybe we shoud freeze you so you're no longer "alive", then rip out your spine and study it.


Being a fool is free, but health care is expensive. You'll grow up, else I expect that you'll pass your seat to someone not burdened by the obvious and gross immorality of using discarded placenta and umbilical cords to save life.
EvgenijM
5 / 5 (1) May 31, 2010
no one is harvesting anything


'course not, 'cause those little babie's ain't "life forms" right?

Hey hypocrite, you were just an "embryo" at one time too. Maybe we shoud freeze you so you're no longer "alive", then rip out your spine and study it.


A very good example, showing moral of religious people. For them human is only a body; not a mind, personality or conscious.

Or perhaps he meant, that killing "life forms" is generally a bad thing? In that case, I wonder what he eats to stay alive.
philosothink
not rated yet Jun 01, 2010
an embryo is not human until the brain wakes up, before that it's just some specialized cells with a magnificent potential. You can paint it with whatever irrational emotional colors you chose, that's the basic truth of it.

When you make petty, insulting posts, it merely makes you look ignorant, Quantum.

When you're old, and your organs are failing, and your life is drawing close to an end, I'd really like to be there to interview you about your opinion of this science. I'd be willing to bet you'll accept the cloned organs and look back on your opinions on the matter today, rather like and adult looks back upon the years where they believed in Santa Claus.
DrJohnty
not rated yet Jun 01, 2010
Excellent news and another important step along the road to radical life extension. It is important to remember that one of the fundamental cause of aging is cell loss, or cell atrophy. For most of our lives, our bodies are programmed to replace cells when they die. Unfortunately our individual cells live much shorter life spans than the body itself: some cells last a few years, others, like skin cells, a few weeks. All of them are constantly regenerated using the body’s supply of stem cells. Where this breakthrough has huge benefits is helping to address the problem that over time the processes of cell replenishment begin to break down. This is what causes muscle atrophy (thinning) among the old, and also afflicts the heart and brain and it goes without saying that when either of these two get shaky its often a case of game over! To fix this problem introducing new stem cells is a potential way forward so this research is really positive news.
DrJohnty
not rated yet Jun 01, 2010
Excellent news and another important step along the road to radical life extension. It is important to remember that one of the fundamental cause of aging is cell loss, or cell atrophy. For most of our lives, our bodies are programmed to replace cells when they die. Unfortunately our individual cells live much shorter life spans than the body itself: some cells last a few years, others, like skin cells, a few weeks. All of them are constantly regenerated using the body’s supply of stem cells. Where this breakthrough has huge benefits is helping to address the problem that over time the processes of cell replenishment begin to break down. This is what causes muscle atrophy (thinning) among the old, and also afflicts the heart and brain and it goes without saying that when either of these two get shaky its often a case of game over! To fix this problem introducing new stem cells is a potential way forward so this research is really positive news.
DrJohnty
not rated yet Jun 01, 2010
You have summed it up excellently. Anyone who argues against it needs their head tested. A good URL to check out is http://www.citywi...p;Page=3
it covers this among other routes to cure aging.
Never read it, and yes I am applauding.

This will mean that, if I ever go blind, break my back, loose a thumb, neurodegenerative diseases or worse, there could be a real chance that I could be 100% fixed. And I hope this leads to extending life, so we may live forever.(this is of course extreme and very long away)

Why would we not pursue this? no one is harvesting anything