:: 28, Jan 2014 :: SINGAPORE SCIENTISTS SUCCEED IN MANIPULATING STEM CELLS INTO LIVER AND PANCREAS PRECURSOR CELLS

Posted: January 28, 2014 at 4:43 pm

28 January 2014-Scientists from the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) in A*STAR have developed a novel method of directing human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) into highly pure populations of endoderm[1], a valuable cell type that gives rise to organs including the liver and pancreas.

These cells are highly sought-after for therapeutic and biotechnological purposes, but have been historically difficult to attain from hPSCs. The ability to generate pure endoderm at higher yields from hPSCs is a key and important step towards the use of stem cells in clinical applications.

The discovery, published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell Stem Cell in January 2014, was led by Dr Bing Lim, Senior Group Leader and Associate Director of Cancer Stem Cell Biology at the GIS, Dr Lay Teng Ang, a postdoctoral fellow from Dr Lims lab, and Kyle Loh, a graduate student at Stanford University School of Medicine.

hPSCs are stem cells that can generate over 200 distinct cell types in the human body. They respond to multiple external protein instructions to differentiate into other cell types. Therefore, generating one single cell type from hPSCs, and a pure population of that given cell type, is delicate as hPSCs have a tendency to also form other types of cells.

Employing a highly systematic and novel approach, the group screened for proteins and chemicals that promote the formation of a single desired cell type, and concurrently block induction of unwanted cell types. This strategy uncovered a combination of triggers that could drive hPSCs towards pure populations of endoderm. The valuable cells produced and the insights gained from this work have brought stem cells one step closer to clinical translation and furthered basic research into the understanding of how cell fates are specified during stem cell differentiation.

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:: 28, Jan 2014 :: SINGAPORE SCIENTISTS SUCCEED IN MANIPULATING STEM CELLS INTO LIVER AND PANCREAS PRECURSOR CELLS

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