SCI researchers develop very early stage human stem cell lines for first time

SCI researchers have for the first time shown that it is possible to derive from a human embryo so-called ‘naïve’ pluripotent stem cells – one of the most flexible types of stem cell, which can develop into all human tissue other than the placenta.

As well as a potential source of stem cells for use in regenerative medicine, the technique could open up new avenues of research into disorders such as Down’s syndrome. The ability to derive naïve stem cells has been possible for over thirty years from mouse embryos, using a technique developed by Sir Martin Evans and Professor Matthew Kaufman during their time at Cambridge, but this is the first time this has been possible from human embryos.

The ability to derive naïve stem cells has been possible for over thirty years from mouse embryos, using a technique developed by Sir Martin Evans and Professor Matthew Kaufman during their time at Cambridge, but this is the first time this has been possible from human embryos. Human pluripotent stem cells for use in regenerative medicine or biomedical research come from two sources: embryonic stem cells, derived from fertilised egg cells discarded from IVF procedures; and induced pluripotent stem cells, where skin cells are reprogrammed to a pluripotent form. However, these cells are already “primed” for differentiation into specific cell types. In contrast, all instructions have been erased in naïve cells, which may make it easier to direct them into any cell type of interest.

Read more: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/scientists-develop-very-early-stage-human-stem-cell-lines-for-first-time

Publication details:

Guo G,  von Meyenn F, Santos F, Chen Y, Reik W, Bertone P, Smith A, Nichols J. Naïve pluripotent stem cells derived directly from isolated cells of the human inner cell mass. Stem Cell Reports; e-pub 3 March 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2016.02.005

Blastocyst

Mouse blastocyst at the pluripotent stage, when cells have the capacity to generate all of the cell types of the adult

Image credit: Jenny Nichols

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