Scientists have managed to grow stem cell cultures that are free of animal cells.
The new work, reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology, is a crucial step in stem cell research because it will allow growth of these cells without using animal products that can harbor viruses and other potential sources of problems.
“This is the first time is has been possible for us to derive new cell lines in completely defined conditions in medium that completely lacks animal products,” said James Thomson, senior author of the new study and a UW-Madison professor of anatomy who seven years ago was the first to successfully grow human embryonic stem cells in the lab.
This is good because…
Many scientists worry that animal viruses and other agents might be taken up in the human cells and could infect human patients if those cells were to be used for therapy.
“All of the concerns about contaminating proteins in existing stem cell lines can essentially be removed using this medium,” wrote Ludwig in the Nature Biotechnology paper.
All in all yet more progress for stem cell research.