Stem cells reach standard for use in drug development

June 11, 2013

Drug development for a range of conditions could be improved with stem cell technology that helps doctors predict the safety and the effectiveness of potential treatments.

Medical Research Council scientists at the University of Edinburgh have been able to generate cells in the laboratory that reach the gold standard required by the pharmaceutical industry to test .

The researchers used stem cell technology to generate liver cells – which help our bodies to process drugs.

They found that the cells were equally effective, reaching the same standard, as cells from human liver tissue currently used to assess drug safety.

These used in drug testing are in short supply and vary considerably due to different donors. As a result they are not an ideal source for drug development.

The stem cell based technique developed in Edinburgh, addresses these issues by offering a renewable production of uniform liver cells in the laboratory.

Dr David Hay of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, said: "Differing plays a key role in how patients' livers process drugs. We are now able to efficiently produce human liver cells in the laboratory from different people which model the functional differences in ."

Researchers hope to generate liver cells, containing different DNA to reflect the genetic variations in metabolism found in the population that could be used to help identify differences in response among patients to certain drugs. The laboratory-generated liver cells could also be used to screen certain drugs that need close monitoring, to optimise patient treatment.

Scientists are working with Edinburgh BioQuarter, with a view to forming a spin-out company to commercialise the research.

Explore further: Scientists shed light on how liver repairs itself

More information: The research is published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

Related Stories

Organovo announces ability to print 3D human liver tissue

April 24, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Organovo Holdings, Inc., a company that designs and creates functional human tissue has announced at this year's Experimental Biology Conference that it has developed a 3D printing technique that is able ...

Recommended for you

New method creates endless supply of kidney precursor cells

August 25, 2016

Salk Institute scientists have discovered the holy grail of endless youthfulness—at least when it comes to one type of human kidney precursor cell. Previous attempts to maintain cultures of the so-called nephron progenitor ...

Strict diet combats rare progeria aging disorders

August 25, 2016

Mice with a severe aging disease live three times longer if they eat thirty percent less. Moreover, they age much healthier than mice that eat as much as they want. These are findings of a joint study being published today ...

New avenue for understanding cause of common diseases

August 25, 2016

A ground-breaking Auckland study could lead to discoveries about many common diseases such as diabetes, cancer and dementia. The new finding could also illuminate the broader role of the enigmatic mitochondria in human development.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.