Stem cell line
A stem cell line is a family of constantly dividing cells, the product of a single group of stem cells. They are obtained from human or animal tissues and can replicate for long periods of time in vitro ("within glass"; or, commonly, "in the lab", in an artificial environment). They are frequently used for research relating to embryonic stem cells or cloning entire organisms.
Adult stem cell lines isolated from mature tissues are commonly used in stem cell research, as are cells isolated from umbilical cord blood. However, these cells have a genetic imprint of the host they were taken from, thus limiting their therapeutic use in genetic disorders. Also, adult stem cells are not totipotent or pluripotent like embryonic stem cells, but rather more specialized cells that are multipotent.
Another source of stem cells is the iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cell. This process involves reversing the differentiating cell signals that cause a stem cell to specialize. In this way, a somatic cell can be worked backwards (induced) into a stem cell. One added advantage of this type of stem cell is that the pluripotent cell has the same DNA as the donor and can be used therapeutically towards that end without painful bone marrow and spinal cord extraction techiques. It also contributes to pain relief.
Typically, stem cells have been maintained using tissue culture methods that essentially date from the 1950s. In particular, they are often "fed" using mouse embryonic fibroblasts ("feeder cells") while being simultaneously suspended in a nutrient solution ("media"). However, many scientists are recognizing the importance of using media that is completely free of animal ingredients. This not only liberates cell lines from animal feeder cells, but also brings the in vivo therapeutic use of stem cells one step closer to reality.
Nonmammalian Study model
One interesting study model that yields research results that can be subsequently tested on mammalian systems, is the fruit fly Drosophila (1)
News and Sources
- CalbaTech launches America's First Stem Cell Micro Bank to Harvest Adult Stem Cells
- Mlsna, Lucas J. (2010). "Stem Cell Based Treatments and Novel Considerations for Conscience Clause Legislation". Indiana Health Law Review (United States: Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law) 8 (2): 471–496. ISSN:1549-3199. LCCN:2004212209. OCLC:54703225.
1) Wilson A.A., Kotton D.N. Another notch in stem cell biology: Drosophila intestinal stem cells and the specification of cell fates. 2008, Bioessays 30:107-109.