February 29, 2024

Adult stem cells learn multiplication

One of the criticisms levelled at adult stem cells is that they cannot multiply in the laboratory nearly as well as embryonic stem cells. But research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, published in the journal Molecular Biology of the Cell, appears to show that this is not necessarily true, according to Dr Johnny Huard. A colleague, Dr Bridget Deasy, has succeeded in doubling muscle-derived stem cells more than 200 times, while retaining their ability to regenerate muscle. Multiplication is essential for successful therapies, because large numbers of cells will be needed.

“Scientists have typically believed that adult or post-natal stem cells grow old and die much sooner than embryonic stem cells, but this study demonstrates that is not the case,” said Dr. Huard. “The entire world is closely following the advances in stem cell research, and everyone is interested in the potential of stem cells to treat everything from diabetes to Parkinson’s disease. But there are also many ethical concerns surrounding the use of embryonic stem cells, concerns that you don’t have with post-natal or adult stem cells. My belief is that this study should erase doubts scientists may have had about the potential effectiveness of post-natal stem cells,” he says.