A new type of stem cell has been developed in the lab, in
research described as 'groundbreaking'.
The cells have been dubbed 'F-class' stem cells due to their
'fuzzy' appearance. They appear to multiply more rapidly and easily than
other iPS cells, and they are produced when very high levels of transcription
factors are added to adult cells. The researchers say it will be more
economical to produce these F-class stem cells, which can be used for drug screening
and disease modelling.
'We can put these cells into a big jar of media and grow
them up in a suspension, which is much more efficient, cheaper, and less work
to produce a huge number of cells,' said Dr Andras Nagy, who led the research.
The cells were identified during a project led by Mount
Sinai Hospital’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. Scientists catalogued
the stages a cell goes through as it is being reprogrammed, and in the process,
uncovered a new 'state' of stem cell. Their research also highlighted the
different properties that arise when certain cells and transcription factors
'This project has been a real adventure for us into
integrative biology in a new era of global science,' said Utrecht University's Dr Albert Heck, one of those involved in
the research. 'Our group determined the faith of every protein during this
process, picking up many known and novel markers for transitions to iPS cells
and the new F-class stem cells.'
'What I find particularly exciting is that this opens up the
idea that there may be different kinds of pluripotent stem cells,' Dr Paul
Knoepfler, a stem cell biologist at the University of California, Davis, told
The extensive research was published in a series of five
papers in Nature.