Adult Stem Cells Have Unexpected Resemblance to Embryonic Stem Cells
29 Dec, 2006 03:18 pm
Researchers in Dr. Rita Perlingeiro?s laboratory at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, have developed a way to isolate and purify the adult stem cell that gives rise to bone, cartilage, and fat. Referred to as the ?mesenchymal stem cell?, this cell, which comes from bone marrow, is already in clinical trials for bone fracture healing, tendon repair, and cartilage regeneration. These cells are rare in the bone marrow, and their purification is limited by the lack of effective isolation methods.
The conventional way to isolate mesenchymal stem cells is by extended whole bone marrow cultures. During this process these cells extensively proliferate but gradually lose their potential for regeneration, which limit their therapeutical use and increase the possibility for side effects. These cultures are also complex mixtures of different types of cells. For this reason, the recent discovery from Dr. Perlingerio`s laboratory, by which these cells can be isolated directly from bone marrow, without any culturing or treatment, has a direct application for cell therapies. Now these highly purified adult stem cells can be utalized directly when they contain their greatest potential for tissue regeneration. With this method, scientists can analyze more accurately the properties of MSCs as well as understand their function in the physiology of the bone marrow, bone or cartilage and their role in some pathological cases, like bone fracture or cartilage damage.
Going forward, this molecule is also present on embryonic carcinoma cell line, raising the possibility that SSEA4 may be present on the surface of other tumor cells. There is high possibility that this molecule labels the stem cells within some type of tumors as well. Tumor stem cells are cells responsible for maintaining permanent tumor growth and high resistance to chemotherapy.
Encouraged by the discovery of the surface marker for bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells, Dr. Perlingeiro`s team is testing to see if SSEA4 is a marker of the stem cells present in different organs.
Article by Dr. Darko Bosnakovski
Gang, E.J., Bosnakovski, D., Figueiredo, C.A., Visser, J.W., and Perlingeiro, R. SSEA-4 identifies mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow. Blood first edition prepublished online October 24, 2006; DOI 10.1182/blood-2005-11-010504. To be published 15 February 2007.