Navigation Links
Predicting the fate of stem cells

University of Toronto researchers have developed a method that can rapidly screen human stem cells and better control what they will turn into. The technology could have potential use in regenerative medicine and drug development. Findings are published in this week's issue of the journal Nature Methods.

"The work allows for a better understanding of how to turn stem cells into clinically useful cell types more efficiently," according to Emanuel Nazareth, a PhD student at the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) at the University of Toronto. The research comes out of the lab of Professor Peter Zandstra, Canada Research Chair in Bioengineering at U of T.

The researchers used human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC), cells which have the potential to differentiate and eventually become any type of cell in the body. But the key to getting stem cells to grow into specific types of cells, such as skin cells or heart tissue, is to grow them in the right environment in culture, and there have been challenges in getting those environments (which vary for different types of stem cells) just right, Nazareth said.

The researchers developed a high-throughput platform, which uses robotics and automation to test many compounds or drugs at once, with controllable environments to screen hPSCs in. With it, they can control the size of the stem cell colony, the density of cells, and other parameters in order to better study characteristics of the cells as they differentiate or turn into other cell types. Studies were done using stem cells in micro-environments optimized for screening and observing how they behaved when chemical changes were introduced.

It was found that two specific proteins within stem cells, Oct4 and Sox2, can be used to track the four major early cell fate types that stem cells can turn into, allowing four screens to be performed at once.

"One of the most frustrating challenges is that we have different research protocols for different cell types. But as it turns out, very often those protocols don't work across many different cell lines," Nazareth said.

The work also provides a way to study differences across cell lines that can be used to predict certain genetic information, such as abnormal chromosomes. What's more, these predictions can be done in a fraction of the time compared to other existing techniques, and for a substantially lower cost compared to other testing and screening methods.

"We anticipate this technology will underpin new strategies to identify cell fate control molecules, or even drugs, for a number of different stem cell types," Zandstra said.

As a drug screening technology "it's a dramatic improvement over its predecessors," said Nazareth. He notes that in some cases, the new technology can drop testing time from up to a month to a mere two days.

Professor Peter Zandstra was awarded the 2013 Till & McCulloch Award in recognition of this contribution to global stem cell research.


Contact: Erin Vollick
University of Toronto

Related biology technology :

1. Expanded Findings for FirstMarks Completed Clinical Study for Predicting Near-Term (2-3 Years) MI
2. Physical cues help mature cells revert into embryonic-like stem cells
3. Cleaner and greener cities with integrated transparent solar cells
4. Direct induction of chondrogenic cells from human dermal fibroblast culture by defined factors
5. Researchers discover and treat toxic effects of ALS mutation in neurons made from patients skin cells
6. Global Stem Cells Group, Inc. Announces Worldwide Alliance with EmCyte Corp. to Promote In-office Regenerative Medicine Solutions
7. Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Announces the Launch of a Major Research Program Analysing the Global Market for Circulating Tumor Cells and Cancer Stem Cells
8. Histogen’s Method of Generating Multipotent Stem Cells Receives US Patent
9. New nanoparticles make solar cells cheaper to manufacture
10. Growing Industry in Technologies For Circulating Tumor Cells: Kalorama Report
11. Decellularized mouse heart beats again after regenerating with human heart precursor cells
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... Calif. , Dec. 1, 2015 Cepheid ... of its participation at the Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference ... this morning, the Company is reaffirming its outlook for ... for 2016, in addition to discussing longer term business ... and Chief Executive Officer.  "We continue to be the ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 01, 2015 , ... The American Society of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, ... Mathews will join fellow surgeons in the shared pursuit of “advancing minimally ... urogynecologist, founder of Plano Urogynecology Associates and Fellow of the American College ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... DUBLIN , December 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... the addition of the  "2016 U.K. Virology ... Segment Forecasts for 100 Tests, Supplier Shares ... Opportunities"  report to their offering.  --> ... of the  "2016 U.K. Virology and Bacteriology ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... Global Stem Cells Group announced that its scientific team is ... adipose-derived stem cells. The announcement starts a new phase toward launching the simple, quick ... of the lipoaspirate obtained from liposuction of excess adipose tissue. , Lipoaspirate, contains ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/17/2015)... , November 17, 2015 ... au 19 novembre  2015.  --> Paris ... --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, ... la fois passeports et empreintes sur la même surface ... les passeports et l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. ... human interface solutions, today announced expansion of its ... ™ touch controller and display driver integration ... of smartphones. These new TDDI products add to ... (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 2015   Growing need for low-cost, easy ... been paving the way for use of biochemical ... analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and defense ... in medical applications, however, their adoption is increasing ... continuous emphasis on improving product quality and growing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):