Turning a readily available commodity into a scarce one is a neat trick. Stem cell scientists have long been able to convert one cell to another. For example, turning skin cells into dopaminergic neurons which could treat Parkinson's disease. However, these new cells also need to be in the right place. Relocation from in-vitro to in-vivo is a difficult journey which kills most cells.
Cells, like people, are a product of their genes and their environment. They respond to biological cues, such as growth factors, and they also respond to physical cues, such as shear stress produced by the flow of fluids. One of the most important physical factors for cells is the softness of their niche. This is determined by the localized composition of the extracellular matrix and physical attributes of their surrounding cells. The effect of getting softness right can be critical. Softness can direct cell differentiation, or maintain plenipotentiary and enhance proliferation. Just placing pluripotent cells on a soft surface reduces or possibly eliminates the need for growth factors
Exosomes are nanoscale lipid spheres secreted by cells. Each exosomes contain bits of the cell that produced it, packaged within the exosome and embedded in their walls. DNA, RNA and proteins are all carried. Study of this cargo material can reveal information about the status of cells that secrete them into blood and other body fluids.
The first beef burger made from cells grown outside a cow cost a whopping $320,000, or > $1mn/kg. It was described as dry and flavourless. The challenge the nascent cultured meat industry then faced was to generate a product that looks, tastes and feels like meat and at a price that at least some consumers are prepared to pay. The good news is prices have now tumbled, still falling, and quality has improved. A $1.7 Trn global market beckons. Things are hotting up in the cultured meat kitchen
When plants are moved to a new location, they benefit from compost to help put down roots and become established. The compost provides a depot of nutrients that encourages root growth and accelerates the development of the plant. Similarly, survival agents are small molecules (chemicals) or proteins (particularly growth factors) that have a similar function in cell culture and cell implantation. They go beyond regular maintenance, helping cells during the process of adaptation to the new environment and getting through crisis periods before becoming established. Survival agents are used in 2D, 3D and in-vivo.
Using CRISPR-Cas9 and related technologies, the human genome can now be edited with relative ease. However, these techniques carry a significant risk in therapeutic applications (gene therapy and cell therapy) of unwanted off-target effects. For example, insertion of DNA near to an oncogene could activate it and cause cancer.
Cytokines/growth factors are large, related groups of highly potent proteins which affect cell fate. Cytokine potency is counter-balanced by relatively short half-lives. This ephemeral nature produces spatiotemporal effects by limiting duration of cytokine bioactivity and therefore the distance they can travel within tissues.
The invention of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology in 2006 by Shinya Yamanaka was a big moment for stem cell therapeutics. Using a cocktail of transcription factors to turn the clock back on (almost) any cell to its pluripotent past enables essentially unlimited quantities of any cell type to be made. iPSCs are similar to embryonic stem cells (ESCs) that had been isolated several years earlier. However, ESCs are derived from an early-stage embryo, so come with a lot of ethical baggage. Too much for many countries which simply banned the technique. As well as simpler ethics, iPSCs can be made using a patient’s own cells, enabling autologous cell therapy.
Exo-spin™ SEC columns can be used as a stand-alone product or as part of a combined strategy for isolating small EVs. CellGS offers pre-packed and equilibrated ready-to-use SEC columns. With the pore size of the resin being approximately 30 nm, Exo-spin™ SEC columns offer a highly pure exosome elution ready for any downstream application.