Generation of multipotent foregut stem cells from human pluripotent cells

A new method for creating stem cells for the human liver and pancreas, which could enable both cell types to be grown in sufficient quantities for clinical use, has been developed by scientists.

The research, led by Dr Nicholas Hannan, was carried out in Dr Ludovic Vallier’s Lab and published in the Journal Stem Cell Reports.

Using the technique, researchers have for the first time been able to grow a pure, self-renewing population of stem cells specific to the human foregut, the upper section of the human digestive system.

These so-called “Foregut stem cells” could then be developed further to produce liver or pancreatic cells. The method significantly improves on existing techniques for cultivating this type of stem cell, and raises the possibility that, with further work, they could be grown in large numbers in bioreactors. That would make it possible to use them for regenerative therapies, repairing damaged organs or tissues in the body, and treating conditions such as type I diabetes or liver disease.

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Monolayer of multipotent foregut stem cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells.

Nicholas RF Hannan

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