It also allows for production of such cells without destroying any human embryos. The discovery is a big step forward for stem cell research and for the high hopes for replacing damaged cells and thereby curing serious illnesses such as diabetes and Parkinson's disease.
Currently human embryonic stem cells are made from surplus in vitro fertilized (IVF) embryos that are not used for the generation of pregnancies. The embryos do not survive the procedure.
Therefore it has been illegal in the USA to to use this method for deriving embryonic stem cell lines. Sweden's legislation has been more permissive. It has been possible to generate embryonic stem cells from excess, early IVF embryos with the permission of the persons donating their eggs and sperm.
An international research team led by Karl Tryggvason, Professor of Medical Chemistry at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Professor at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore has, together with Professor Outi Hovatta at Karolinska Institutet, developed a method that makes it possible to use a single cell from an embryo of eight cells. This embryo can then be re-frozen and, theoretically, be placed in a woman's uterus.
The method is already used in Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) analyses, where a genetic test is carried out on a single cell of an IVF embryo in order to detect potential hereditary diseases. If mutations are are not detected, the embryo is inserted in the woman's uterus, where it can grow into a healthy child.
"We know that an embryo can survive the removal of a single cell. This makes a great ethical difference," says Karl Tryggvason.
The single stem cell is then cultivated on a bed of a human laminin protein known as LN-521 that is normally associated with pluripotent stem cells in the embryo. This allows the stem cell to duplicate and multiply without being contaminated. Previously the cultivation of stem cells has been done on proteins from animals or on human cells, which have contaminated the stem cells through uninhibited production of thousands of proteins.
"We can cultivate the stem cells in a chemically defined, clinical quality environment. This means that one can produce stem cells on a large scale, with the precision required for pharmaceutical production," says Karl Tryggvason.
Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent and can develop into any kind of cell. This means that they can become dopamine producing cells, insulin producing cells, heart muscle cells or eye cells, to name but a few of the hopes placed on cell therapy using stem cells.
"Using this technology the supply of human embryonic stem cells is no longer a problem. It will be possible to establish a bank where stem cells can be matched by tissue type, which is important for avoiding transplants being rejected," says Karl Tryggvason.
The study has been funded by the Swedish Research Council, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Söderberg Foundation, AFA Insurance, the Sigrid Juselius Foundation, the EU's Seventh Framework Programme and the Singapore National Medical Research Council. LN-521 has been developed by the Division of Matrix Biology at the Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics (MBB), Karolinska Institutet and is currently marketed by the biotechnology company BioLamina, founded by Karl Tryggvason.
Publication: "Clonal culturing of human embryonic stem cells on laminin-521/E-cadherin matrix in defined and xeno-free environment", Sergey Rodin, Liselotte Antonsson, Colin Niaudet, Oscar E. Simonson, Elina Salmela, Emil M. Hansson, Anna Domogatskaya, Zhijie Xiao, Pauliina Damdimopoulou, Mona Sheikhi, José Inzunza, Ann-Sofie Nilsson, Duncan Baker, Raoul Kuiper, Yi Sun, Elisabeth Blennow, Magnus Nordenskjöld, Karl-Henrik Grinnemo, Juha Kere, Christer Betsholtz, Outi Hovatta and Karl Tryggvason. Nature Communications, online January 27, 2014, doi: 10.1038/ncomms4195.
Website of the journal: http://www.nature.com/ncomms
Contact the Press Office and download images: ki.se/pressroom
Karolinska Institutet – a medical university: ki.se/English
Press Office | EurekAlert!
Gene switch may repair DNA and prevent cancer
12.02.2016 | Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences at Kyoto University
New method opens crystal clear views of biomolecules
11.02.2016 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.
The use of plants and microorganisms to produce pharmaceuticals is nothing new. In 1982, bacteria were genetically modified to produce human insulin, a drug...
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
12.02.2016 | Event News
09.02.2016 | Event News
02.02.2016 | Event News
12.02.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
12.02.2016 | Life Sciences
12.02.2016 | Medical Engineering