New Test Shortens Time for Determining Pluripotency of Stem Cells

Mar 09, 2011   

In a study published this week, researchers at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California have released findings that could solve a major issue that scientists have faced when developing stem cell therapies.  Currently, one of the main issues that has troubled researchers has been the lengthy process of testing pluripotency.  Pluripotency is the ability of a cell to become any kind of cell in the body.  While one major advantage of embryonic stem cells is the ability to develop into different types of cells, other concerns have stifled their use, and researchers have had to develop means to reprogram mature cells to harness the capabilities of embryonic stem cells.  However, a major drawback of these methods is determining whether the reprogrammed cells are truly pluripotent.  Click here to read about a recent legal challenge to federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. 

While the current test used by researchers to check pluripotency takes approximately six to eight weeks, researchers have recently found a new way to test whether a stem cell is pluripotent.  The new method, known as the PluriTest, dramatically decreases the time to check pluripotency and may be completed in as little as ten minutes.  With the development of this new means of testing pluripotency, researchers may have one less roadblock in the development of stem cell therapies. 

More information on FDA news on stem cells can be found here.  Our recent reports on the trials and tribulations of stem cell research and procedures can be found here.