Scientists at Weill Cornell Medical College have developed a new method to harvest a rich source of endothelial cells which could then be used to create new blood vessels or help regenerate organs damaged by a heart attack or stroke.
Daylon James first identified an ideal biomarker for endothelial cells produced in cultures of embryonic stem cells and then developed an efficient way to tag them for quick identification, according to a feature in MIT Technology Review. Another team member, Shahin Rafii, then selected a drug that boosted yields of the endothelial cells. Their recipe calls for the protein TGF-beta to act freely on the cells before introducing a molecule that inhibits the protein at a particular time--which can increase production 36-fold.
"This new protocol is a significant advance, and a very good amplification process, because in order to translate therapy to humans and animals, you have to scale up the numbers," says Stanford scientist Joseph Wu. The team now wants to see if the process can restore the flow of blood to damaged tissue.
- here's the story from MIT Technology Review