Potential biomarker identified to screen quality of donor’s stem cells before harvesting – EurekAlert

Durham, NC – A new study released today in STEM CELLS addresses a significant problem that has been confronting human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) therapy. While hundreds of clinical trials involving thousands of patients are under way to test hMSCs’ ability to treat everything from heart disease to brain injury, there has been no way to determine prior to the donor undergoing a painful and expensive surgical harvesting of bone marrow whether or not it would be worth the effort. However, this new study, conducted by scientists at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, identifies a potential biomarker for prescreening donors for their MSCs’ growth capacity and potency.

“With the global stem cell market predicted to reach over US$270 billion by 2025 (according to a report published by Transparency Market Research), there is a pressing need for effective biomarkers to be used in the screening of stem cells from prospective donors. This need is boosted by the rapid growth of regenerative medicine, with its pallet of cells, genes and engineered tissues,” said Dr. Simon Cool, of A*STAR’s Institute of Medical Biology and co-corresponding author of the study. That is what sparked this new investigation.

In an earlier study, this same laboratory had classified hMSCs from age and sex-matched human donors into high- and low-growth capacity groups and established criteria for identifying stem cells with enhanced potency. “These hMSCs showed increased proliferative potential that correlated with enhanced clonogenicity, a higher proportion of smaller-sized cells with longer
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