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!
One step closer to reality
20.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie
The dark side of cichlid fish: from cannibal to caregiver
20.04.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.
Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.
Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.
Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...
Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.
The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...
Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.
Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...
In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
09.04.2018 | Event News
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research
20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy