An international collaboration involving researchers from Duke-NUS Medical School and Monash University has made an unexpected discovery of stem cells in the world that could lead to new treatments for placental complications during pregnancy.
Although it is widely known that adult skin cells can be reprogrammed into cells similar to human embryonic stem cells which can then be used to develop tissue from human organs ̵
IPSCs have opened up the potential for personalized cell therapies and new opportunities for regenerative medicine, safe drug testing and toxicity assessments, yet little was known about exactly how they were made.
An international team led by Professor Jose Polo of ARC Future Fellow of Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute and the Australian Research Medicine Institute, together with Assistant Professor Owen Rackham of Duke-NUS in Singapore, examined the molecular changes that cells in the adult skin have undergone to become iPSC. It was while studying this process that they discovered a new way to create induced trophoblastic stem cells (iTSCs) that can be used to make placental cells.
This exciting discovery, which also involves the experience of three first authors, Dr Xiaodong Liu, Dr John Ouyang and Dr Fernando Rossello, will enable further research on new treatments for placental complications and measurement of drug toxicity for the cells of the placenta, which has implications during pregnancy.
“This is very important because iPSCs cannot give rise to the placenta, so all the advances in disease modeling and cell therapy that iPSCs have brought have not translated into the placenta,” said Prof Polo.
“When I started my PhD five years ago, our goal was to understand the ins and outs of how iPSCs are produced. However, along the way, we also discovered how to create iTSCs,” said Dr. Liu.
“This discovery will provide the ability to model the human placenta in vitro and enable a path towards future cell therapies,” said Dr. Ouyang.
“This study demonstrates how by successfully combining cutting-edge experimental and computational tools, basic science leads to unexpected discoveries that can be transformative,” said Asst Prof Rackham.
Professors Polo and Rackham said many other Australian and international university groups have contributed to the study over the years, making it a truly international endeavor.
Scientists convert skin cells to placenta-generating cells (Update)
The reprogramming roadmap reveals the path to human-induced trophoblast stem cells. Nature (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-020-2734-6, www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2734-6
A new discovery in pluripotent stem cells and induced regenerative medicine (2020, September 16)
recovered on September 17, 2020
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