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Stanford scientists develop new way to grow adult stem cells in culture
Date:7/15/2010

more specialized cells.)

Gilbert found that one-third of cells grown on the muscle-mimicking substrate expressed a muscle-stem-cell-specific gene (indicating that at least one of the two cells was a stem cell) but that only 6 percent of those grown on the plastic surface did so. Furthermore, when Gilbert transplanted five doublets (for a total of 10 cells) into mice from the muscle-mimicking substrate, the cells made themselves at home and began to contribute to muscle fiber development in three of 12 recipient animals. When she repeated the experiment with doublets grown on hard surfaces, none of the animals demonstrated similar engraftment.

"Clearly the cells grown on the more-elastic surfaces have better survival and self-renewing properties than those grown on standard tissue culture dishes," said Blau. "We conducted our experiments with muscle stem cells, but I expect this will be true for other types of adult stem cells as well."

In addition to exploring this possibility in the future, the researchers will also investigate how their findings may help advance therapies for conditions like muscular dystrophy. "Researchers really had no way to grow these cells in the laboratory before," said Blau. "These findings may allow us one day to replenish the muscles of patients with muscular dystrophy and other muscle-wasting diseases with healthy stem cells."


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Contact: Krista Conger
kristac@stanford.edu
650-725-5371
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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