Patient-Specific Stem Cells

  • A related news release is available from AAAS in Washington, DC. [Korean language version]
  • A related news release is available from the University of Pittsburgh.
  • A video explanation of nuclear-transfer human embryonic stem cells is available. [Video Pittsburgh Development Center]
  • A related news article by Gretchen Vogel will be available on Wednesday, 18 May 2005.
  • NOTE: This paper, related policy forum, and news article will be "free with registration" via, and available to the public as of about 5 pm ET Thursday, 19 May 2005.

Scientists have isolated the first human embryonic stem cell lines specifically tailored to match the nuclear DNA of patients, both male and female of various ages, suffering from disease or spinal cord injury. These cell lines will enable the study of human disease in cells in the laboratory. The work also moves scientists one step closer to the goal of transplanting healthy cells into humans to replace cells damaged by diseases such as Parkinson's and diabetes. Each of the 11 new human embryonic stem cell lines was created by transferring the nuclear genetic material from a non-reproductive cell of a patient into a donated egg, or "oocyte," whose nucleus had been removed. Next, oocytes with patient genetic material were allowed to grow to the blastocyst stage of embryo development. Stem cells were then derived from the inner cell mass of the blastocyst. In laboratory culture, these cell lines displayed signs of immunological compatibility with the patients' cells, the authors reported. Oocyte donors were unpaid volunteers who signed informed-consent agreements. Before patient-specific stem cells can potentially be used in the clinic, a variety of issues must be addressed, the researchers emphasized. For example, the stem cell lines produced from patients with disease will likely display characteristics of the disease, so they will probably not be appropriate for direct use in treating patients. The authors of a related "Policy Forum" , in the 20 May 2005 issue of the journal Science discuss international oversight and ethical issues in oocyte donation, including the need to promote realistic expectations of the outcomes of stem cell research.

Science is published by AAAS, the non-profit science society.

Patient-specific human embryonic stem cells derived after nuclear transfer differentiate into tissues from all three germ cell layers.

The top three rows of images show cell lines differentiated into all of three somatic tissue types in vivo in teratomas

Images A to H (top row) show cell line NT-hESC-2
Images I to P (second row) show cell line NT-hESC-3
Images Q to X (third row) show cell line NT-hESC-4

The bottom row shows patient-specific human embryonic stem cells derived after nuclear transfer differentiate into tissues from all three germ cell layers in vitro in embryoid bodies.

See caption in manuscript for specific differentiated tissues types.

[Image © Science]



Visit Science Online


back to top