Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Technique Boosts Efficiency of Blood Cell Production From Human Stem Cells

18.07.2011
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have developed an improved technique for generating large numbers of blood cells from a patient's own cells. The new technique will be immediately useful in further stem cell studies, and when perfected, could be used in stem cell therapies for a wide variety of conditions including cancers and immune ailments.

"There are further improvements that we need to make, but this takes us a significant step closer to the ultimate goal, which is to be able to take ordinary cells from a patient, induce them to become stem cells, and then use those stem cells to rebuild lost or diseased tissues, for example the patient's bone marrow," says Inder M. Verma, PhD, Irwin and Joan Jacobs Chair in Exemplary Life Science and American Cancer Society Professor of Molecular Biology at the Salk Institute Laboratory of Genetics. Verma is senior author of the report, which is published in the July edition of the journal Stem Cells.

Stem cell researchers have been racing towards this goal since 2006, when techniques for turning ordinary skin cells into induced pluripotential stem cells (iPSCs) were first reported. In principle, iPSCs mimic the embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from which organisms develop. Researchers now want to find the precise mixes and sequences of chemical compounds needed to coax iPSCs to mature into the tissue-specific stem cells of their choice. The latter are self-renewing, and can be transplanted into the body to produce the 'progenitor' cells that multiply locally and produce mature tissue cells.

However, researchers don't know yet how to induce iPSCs to become tissue-specific stem cells or mature tissue cells with high efficiency. "We've been producing these cells in quantities that are too low to enable them to be studied easily, much less used for therapies," says Aaron Parker, PhD, a former graduate student and now a postdoctoral researcher in Verma's lab. Parker is a co-lead-author of the paper, with Niels-Bjarne Woods, PhD, who was a postdoctoral researcher in the Verma lab at the outset of the project, and is now an assistant professor at Lund University in Sweden.

Like many other stem cell research laboratories, the Verma lab has been trying to find more efficient ways to turn iPSCs into blood-forming 'hematopoietic' stem cells (HSCs). These may be more valuable medically than any other tissue-specific stem cell, because they can supply not only oxygen-carrying red blood cells but also all the white blood cells of the immune system. "There would be an almost unlimited number of usages for true HSCs," says Verma.

For the present study, the research team sought to do a better job of mimicking the changing conditions that naturally direct ESCs to become HSCs in the womb. "We took seven lines of human ESCs and iPSCs, and experimented with different combinations and sequences of growth factors and other chemical compounds that are known to be present as ESCs move to the HSC state in a developing human," says Parker.

Applying cocktails of these factors, Parker and Woods and their colleagues induced the iPSCs and ESCs to form colonies of cells that bore the distinctive molecular markers of blood cells. With their best such cocktail they were able to detect blood-specific markers on 84% of their cells after three weeks. "That's a big jump in efficiency from what we saw in the field just a few years ago," says Parker.

The technique still has room for improvement. The researchers detected progenitor cells and mature cells from only one category or lineage: myeloid cells, which include red blood cells and primitive immune cells such as macrophages. "We didn't see any cells from the lymphoid lineage, meaning T-cells and B-cells," Parker says.

Another drawback was that the blood cell population they produced from ESCs and iPSCs contained short-lived progenitors and mature blood cells but no indefinitely renewing, transplantable HSCs. Their cocktail, they believed, either pushed the cells past the HSC state to the progenitor state too quickly, or made the maturing cells skip the HSC state entirely.

From this and other labs' results, the team hypothesized the existence of an intermediate, pre-hematopoietic type of stem cell, produced by ESCs and iPSCs and in turn producing HSCs. "We know that HSCs appear in a particular region of mammals during embryonic development, and our idea is that these pre-hematopoietic stem cells are there and are somehow made to mature into HSCs," says Parker. "So our lab is now going to focus on finding the precise maturation signals provided by that embryonic region to produce these true, transplantable HSCs."

Once that is done, researchers will need to make a number of further refinements to improve the safety of HSCs intended for human patients. "But we're now tantalizingly close to our ultimate goal," says Verma.

The other authors who contributed to the work were Roksana Moraghebi, of Lund University's Stem Cell Center; Margaret K. Lutz, Amy L. Firth, Kristen J. Brennand, W. Travis Berggren and Fred H. Gage of the Salk Institute Laboratory for Genetics; Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte of the Salk Institute Gene Expression Laboratory; and Angel Raya of the Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, Spain.

Funding for this research was provided by the National Institutes for Health, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Leducq Foundation, the Merieux Foundation, the Ellison Medical Foundation, Ipsen/Biomeasure, Sanofi Aventis, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation, The Royal Physiographic Society of Sweden, the Lund University Medical Faculty, and the Lars Hierta Memorial Foundation, and the H.A. and Mary K. Chapman Charitable Trust.

Andy Hoang | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.salk.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

nachricht Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals
23.05.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>