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Stem cells develop best in 3-D
Date:11/21/2012

Scientists from The Danish Stem Cell Center (DanStem) at the University of Copenhagen are contributing important knowledge about how stem cells develop best into insulin-producing cells. In the long term this new knowledge can improve diabetes treatment with cell therapy. The results have just been published in the scientific journal Cell Reports.

Stem cells are responsible for tissue growth and tissue repair after injury. Therefore, the discovery that these vital cells grow better in a three-dimensional environment is important for the future treatment of disease with stem cell therapy.

"We can see that the quality of the cells produced two-dimensionally is not good enough. By putting the cells in a three-dimensional environment and giving them the proper growth conditions, we get much better results. Therefore we are developing a three-dimensional culture medium in gelatine in the laboratory to mimic the one inside an embryo," says Professor Anne Grapin-Botton from DanStem at the University of Copenhagen, who produced the results together with colleagues from Switzerland and Belgium.

The international research team hopes that the new knowledge about three-dimensional cell growth environments can make a significant contribution to the development of cell therapies for treating diabetes. In the long term this knowledge can also be used to develop stem cell treatments for chronic diseases in internal organs such as the liver or lungs. Like the pancreas, these organs are developed from stem cells in 3D.

From stem cells to specialised cells

The research team has investigated how the three-dimensional organisation of tissue in the early embryonic stage influences development from stem cells to more specialised cells.

"We can see that the pancreas looks like a beautiful little tree with branches. Stem cells along the branches need this structure to be able to create insulin-producing cells in the em
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Contact: Anne Grapin-Botton
anne.grapin-botton@sund.ku.dk
(45) 29-63-43-98
University of Copenhagen
Source:Eurekalert

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