The United States has developed a technology that could make stem cell therapies safer

Stem cell therapies have great potential to repair damage to tissues and organs, but they can also induce tumors. Researchers from the United States have devised a way to screen cells that could eliminate the risk. On August 15th, Beijing Xinhua internet reported.

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into different types of cells, in which embryonic stem cells have the strongest potential for differentiation. In theory, using patients' own cells to grow stem cells into the cells they need to repair tissues and organs without causing rejection by the immune system is an ideal treatment.

But the powerful potential of differentiation can also cause problems. When a patient is transplanted with a well-differentiated cell or tissue mixed with undifferentiated embryonic stem cells, they would get into the body and grow out of control, turning into a bizarre tumor called a teratoma, which contains a variety of tissues, such as muscle, hair and even teeth.

Researchers at Stanford university in the United States recently reported in the journal nature biotechnology that they have discovered a new antibody that binds tightly to embryonic stem cells called sea-5. Tests have shown that combining this antibody with two other known antibodies that can bind to stem cells can effectively remove unwanted stem cells.

Using this combination of antibodies, the researchers say, they could clear the few remaining undifferentiated cells from the 10 million or even 100 million that would be needed for a stem-cell treatment.

Specific method is to tag these antibodies with a fluorescent stain and add to embryonic stem cells that are developing and differentiating. This allows undifferentiated embryonic stem cells to be screened using a readily available screening technique called fluorescently activated cell sorting.

Researchers injected blood cells derived from stem cells and screened with the new method into laboratory mice and found no teratoma. Without screening, teratoma rates are gonna be high, the researchers said.
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