The researchers not only want to apply the technology for stem cell therapy but also for disease modeling, a process that would allow for their use in the laboratory to study disease mechanisms and in pharmaceutical companies to screen new medications.
"The ultimate goal is to use them in personalized cell therapy," explained Kim.
At the same time, the grant money will be used to see whether the iPS cells can be turned into blood lineage cells, including platelets. The SCRMI lab, headed by Lanza, has already shown the ability to make blood lineage cells from human embryonic stem cells.
If the same can be done from human iPS cells, it might be able to generate blood cells for certain patients so they can receive transfusions of blood and platelets from themselves, Kim said.
It would eliminate the problem of rejection and would provide blood lineage cells such as platelets that will be extremely useful in potentially life-threatening situations of blood shortages, he said.
A third goal of the research is to seek to make iPS cells from tissues of patients who have the rare universal blood types Rh- and O-, he added. "If we can make an unlimited amount of blood from these iPS cells, the blood could be used universally, particularly in crisis situations such as war," he said.
"Dr. Lanza's team has the world's top expertise in how to differentiate human embryonic stem cells or iPS cells to blood lineage cells," Kim said. "That is why they have combined with my lab, where we have the expertise to generate iPS cells using the protein method."
|Contact: Adriana Bobinchock|