NewsStem Cells

Scientists Develop Low Cost Stem Cells Culturing System

A new research led by scientists at Japan’s Kyoto University, with colleagues in India and Iran, have developed a more cost-effective culture by using a new combination of chemical compounds

Human pluripotent stem cells are the self-replicating cells which can infinitely develop into all major cell types in the body. They have the ability to become almost any cell type in the human body and are important for organ repair and replacement. The potential of using hPSCs for cell replacement therapy and disease modeling has been discussed extensively but their culturing in in large quantities can be expensive.

A new research led by scientists at Japan’s Kyoto University, with colleagues in India and Iran, have developed a more cost-effective culture by using a new combination of chemical compounds.

The culture systems which are currently used need components like genetically engineered growth factors to sustain hPSC self-renewal as well as avoiding them from differentiating into other cell types. These specific growth factors are produced in bacteria or animal cells due to which they are particularly expensive.

The new culture developed does not need expensive growth factors as without them also it is capable of supporting and maintaining the long-term renewal of hPSCs which makes it cheap than the currently used culture system.

Kouichi Hasegawa of Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) and his team developed their ‘AKIT’ culture using three chemical compounds: 1-azakenpaullone (AK), ID-8 (I), and tacrolimus (T).

1-azakenpaullone supported hPSC self-renewal but also induced their differentiation into other cells. To turn off the differentiation, the team added ID-8. This compound, however, also leads to the partial cell growth arrest, so a third compound, tacrolimus, was finally added to counter this effect.

During their research, they found that the survival and growth rates of some hPSC cell lines were somewhat lower in the AKIT medium as compared to other culture media. But the significance of the finding lies in the simplicity and low cost of its preparation, which is five to ten times low-cost than any currently available hPSC culture medium.

“This improved method of culturing may thus facilitate the large-scale, quality-controlled and cost-effective translation of hPSC culture practices to clinical and drug-screening applications,” say the researchers in their study published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

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