/

Team develops new way to culture iPS cells with reduced infection risk

Kyodo

A team of Japanese researchers has developed a new way to easily culture induced pluripotent stem cells that has a low risk of infection in transplant therapy, a British science journal reported.

The team, which includes Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, can create a culture system that unlike the existing technique doesn’t have to use animal ingredients, which are at risk of infection, the journal Scientific Reports said Wednesday.

The researchers said in the journal that the new culture system will be vital in speeding up efforts to apply iPS cells in regenerative medicine.

They found that using fragments of a protein called laminin-511, which can stick cells together, enables cells to be stable on culture dishes or plates. With the method, they have created a safer method for producing iPS cells using amino acids and vitamins instead of animal ingredients.

The conventional method for culturing iPS cells has been to graft them on cell culture dishes and used feeder cells or mouse cells and bovine serum-containing medium as nutrients.

But because there are risks to infections in using tissues and cells, which are created from iPS cells under the existing culture system, there is a need to conduct time-consuming safety tests, Scientific Reports said.

They discovered that human iPS cells developed based on this system can also transform into nerve cells that produce neurotransmitter dopamine, insulin-producing cells and blood cells.

The researchers hope the discovery will eventually lead to clinical applications for illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes.

The new culture system can also be applied to embryonic stem cells, the journal said.