Sunday, March 25, 2007

IQ-1: step forward in embryonic stem cell utilization?

Further to the issue of immune response ( What is the timetable for cures through human embryonic stem cells? ), a netscape comment on a new paper in PNAS-online observes:

Their findings are published today [3/25/07] in an early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This discovery takes scientists another step closer to being able to grow embryonic stem cells without the “feeder layer” of mouse fibroblast cells that is essential for maintaining the potency of embryonic stem cells, said Michael Kahn, the study’s primary investigator who recently was named the first Provost’s Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy at USC.

Such a layer is needed because it is currently the only proven method to provide the stem cells with the necessary chemical signals that prompt them to stay undifferentiated and to continue dividing over and over.

Still, growing human embryonic stem cells on a layer of mouse fibroblasts has never made much sense to the scientists forced to do just that.

“Stem cells that grow on feeders are contaminated with mouse glycoproteins markers,” Kahn said. “If you use them in humans, you’d potentially have a horrible immune response.”

And so, in order to take any eventual stem cell-based treatments from the laboratory to the clinic, there needs to be a way to keep the cells growing and dividing without the use of mouse fibroblasts. The discovery of IQ-1, Kahn said, is a significant step in that direction.

Separately, of a comment on the "timetable" post in IPBiz:

Whether you are for or against research using hesc is not the issue, what is may be that the people of New Jersey expected one thing and got another.

IPBiz notes: unlike the voters in California, who voted on Proposition 71, the voters in New Jersey have not voted on a stem cell bond proposal. Thus, not clear what the expectations are, or were. The current funding of $5 million discussed by the poster Faye was not voted upon by Jersey taxpayers, so there can be no statement of what the expectations of the taxpayers were.

It is clear that many California taxpayers expected patent royalties to flow, and they are going to get hosed.


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