-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- A team of researchers at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they've developed a
synthetic surface that makes it easier to grow stem cells.
There are two sources of human stem cells: embryonic cells or
pluripotent cells. Pluripotent stem cells are body cells that have
been reprogrammed to an immature state so that they can develop
into any kind of specialized body cells.
While it's believed that pluripotent stem cells hold great
potential for treating a wide range of diseases, scientists have
found it difficult to grow them in large enough quantities to be
used in human studies.
"For therapeutics, you need millions and millions of cells. If we can make it easier for the cells to divide and grow, that will really help to get the number of cells you need to do all of the disease studies that people are excited about," Krishanu Saha, a postdoctoral associate at MIT and co-first author of the paper, said in an MIT news release.
The newly developed surface, which contains no foreign animal
material, allows human pluripotent stem cells to remain alive and
continue reproducing themselves for at least three months, the
This is the first synthetic material that allows single cells to
form colonies of identical cells, something that is necessary in
order to identify cells with desired traits, according to the MIT
team of chemical engineers, materials scientists and
The research was published Aug. 22 in the journal
The International Society for Stem Cell Research outlines the
different types of stem cells.
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