Durham, NC November 2011 Chinese stem cell scientists have published new research that improves the survival and effectiveness of transplanted stem cells. The research led by Dr Hsiao Chang Chan, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, is published in Stem Cells.
Research into differentiation has led to a variety of breakthroughs as stem cell researchers harvest cells from one part of the body and genetically adapt them to fulfill a specialized role. However, if the implanted cells are too much like the cells of the targeted area they may not have the plasticity to engraft and repair the injured tissue.
"Stem cell differentiation and transplantation has been shown to improve function in conditions including degenerative diseases and blood supply disorders," said Dr Chan. "However, the survival rate of transplanted cells in patients limits their overall effectiveness, which is a barrier to clinical use."
To overcome this issue Dr Chan's team explored de-differentiation, a process that reverts specialized, differentiated cells back to a more primitive cell.
The team focused their research on multipotent stem cells, (MSCs) which can be altered into a variety of cell types through differentiation. Bone marrow MSCs have the potential to differentiate into each of the three basic types of lineage cells which form bone (osteocytes), cartilage (chondrocytes) and fat tissue (adipocytes).
The team first differentiated bone marrow MSCs towards a neuronal lineage, but then removed the differentiation conditions, allowing the cell to revert back to a form with more basic cellular characteristics.
Following this process the team recorded increased cell survival rates following
|Contact: Ben Norman|