WASHINGTON -- A research team at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center say the new and powerful cells they first created in the laboratory a year ago constitute a new stem-like state of adult epithelial cells. They say these cells have attributes that may make regenerative medicine truly possible.
In the November 19 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), they report that these new stem-like cells do not express the same genes as embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) do. That explains why they don't produce tumors when they grow in the laboratory, as the other stem cells do, and why they are stable, producing the kind of cells researchers want them to.
"These seem to be exactly the kind of cells that we need to make regenerative medicine a reality," says the study's senior investigator, chairman of the department of pathology at Georgetown Lombardi, a part of Georgetown University Medical Center.
This study is a continuation of work that led to a breakthrough in December 2011 when Schlegel and his colleagues demonstrated that he and his team had designed a laboratory technique that keep both normal as well as cancer cells alive indefinitely which previously had not been possible.
They had discovered that adding two different substances to these cells (a Rho kinase inhibitor and fibroblast feeder cells) pushes them to morph into stem-like cells that stay alive indefinitely. When the two substances are withdrawn from the cells, they revert back to the type of cell that they once were. They dubbed these cells conditionally reprogrammed cells (CRCs).
The advance was seen as an exciting demonstration of personalized cancer medicine. In fact, a case study authored by Schlegel and his team, reported in the September 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), demonstrated how CRCs derived from normal and tumor cells
|Contact: Karen Mallet|
Georgetown University Medical Center