Recent news has been bright for stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine. Last June, scientists announced the creation of Expanded Potential Stem Cells (EPSCs) of both pig and human cells. These new stem cells have the features of the first cells in the developing embryo, and can develop into any type of cell.
The discovery “offers incredible potential for studying human development and regenerative medicine,” MedicalXpress.com reported. The study was first published in Nature Cell Biology.
The discovery was the result of collaborative studies by the LKS Faculty of Medicine at The University of Hong Kong (HKUMed), the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut in Germany.
An Incredible Step Forward
It’s the first time scientists have been able been able to derive stem cells from early pig embryos.
“Stem cells have the ability to develop into other cell types, and existing stem cell lines are already extremely useful for research into development, disease and treatments,” MedicalXpress.com explains. “However, currently available types of stem cell lines have limitations, and until now it has also not been possible to create embryonic stem cells from pigs and many other farm animals.”
New Potential for Food Production
The findings are not only great news for regenerative medicine but for food production as well. The discovery will increase the viability of lab-grown meat as a solution to food shortages in the face of climate change and an overpopulated planet.
“Scientists have been attempting to derive porcine embryonic stem cells for decades without much success,” stated Professor Pentao Liu, a leader in the study. “With our Expanded Potential Stem Cell technology, we have now successfully derived and characterized stem cells from porcine pre-implantation embryos. We have also established similar human stem cells. Our study represents a significant advance in stem cell research.”
Potential for New Developments in Stem Cell Treatment for Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain
But the discovery also shows incredible promise for other stem cell applications such as regenerative medicine, stem cell treatments for knee, neck, and back pain, and more.
“Our porcine EPSCs isolated from pig embryos are the first well-characterized pig cell lines worldwide,” stated Dr. Monika Nowak-Imialek, an author on the paper from the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (FLI) in Germany. “EPSC’s great potential to develop into any type of cell provides important implications for developmental biology, regenerative medicine, organ transplantation, disease modeling, and screening for drugs.”