Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Pig-induced pluripotent stem cells may be safer than previously thought

Pig stem cell research conducted by two animal scientists at the University of Georgia reveals a better way to determine the safety of future stem cell therapies than rodent-based models.

Rodent studies are likely inadequate for testing many human therapies—including pharmaceuticals—since 50 percent of all chemicals test positive as carcinogens in rodents regardless of their source or identity, according to Thomas Hartung, a professor in the Bloomsburg College of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. He suggests these rodent studies may be no better than a coin toss. For example, some components in coffee appear to be carcinogenic in rodents, but in humans moderate coffee consumption may reduce the risk of cancer.

In 2010, UGA faculty Steve Stice and Franklin West introduced 13 pigs that have shown promise in unlocking the path to new therapies. The pigs recently produced another positive finding: These adult-cell-sourced stem cells don't form tumors in pigs.

"Pluripotent stem cells have significant potential for stem cell therapies," said West, an animal science researcher and assistant professor in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "However, tests in mice often resulted in tumor formation that frequently led to death."

The formation of tumors has raised concerns about the safety of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs, and cells derived from these stem cells. Until now, all iPSC safety studies have been performed in rodent models.

"To address the concern, our research team studied tumor formation in pigs generated from pig iPSCs," West said. "Brain, skin, liver, pancreas, stomach, intestine, lung, heart, kidney, muscle, spleen and gonad tissues from all 11 pigs tested showed no evidence of tumors."

The absence of tumor formation in these pigs suggests that iPSCs can safely incorporate into tissues without tumor formation.

"Being able to safely use iPSCs without the potential of causing tumors is essential for this promising stem cell therapy to become a viable treatment option," said Stice, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. "We now have graduate students working on making neural cells from the human and pig stem cells to help further the studies. The human stem cells were effective in a rodent model for stroke, but rodent studies are not rigorous enough to start human clinical trials."

West agrees. "Over 700 drug treatments have gone to human clinical trials for stroke alone based on findings in rodents and have turned out not to be viable in humans," he said. "The pigs are much more human like, and they are going to be a much better model to study strokes."

West is leading a cooperative project between the UGA Regenerative Bioscience Center and stroke researchers at Georgia Health Sciences University. "This project will improve the speed and efficiency of treatment development for stroke and many other conditions and potentially reduce the number of nonhuman primates used in research," he said.

Additionally, Stice and West have now bred the pigs produced from iPSCs and have proven the stem cells did pass to the offspring. This finding opens the door for better animal-sourced tissue for human regenerative medicine such as islet cells that produce insulin for diabetic patients.

Using iPSC technology, the UGA Regenerative Bioscience Center is working with researchers at Emory University to make pigs whose cells from the pancreas would demonstrate decreased rejection in human treatments.

"The next step would be to put these pig insulin-producing cells into other animals, potentially dogs or cats suffering from diabetes—to see if it will produce insulin for them without being rejected," Stice said. "So, it's moving forward. Never as fast as we like, but it's moving."

Their research results were published in the October issue of Stem Cells. For an abstract of the study, see

Franklin West | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Don't Give the Slightest Chance to Toxic Elements in Medicinal Products
23.03.2018 | Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB)

nachricht North and South Cooperation to Combat Tuberculosis
22.03.2018 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>