NOV 14, 2014 12:00 AM PST

Stem Cells To Be Stored And Studied

The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute has announced plans to launch a cell repository in 2015, which when fully operational, will be the largest collection of stem cell lines available to the scientific research community.

At first the repository will contain 600 induced pluripotent stem cell lines (iPS) and 1,000 cultured fibroblasts from unique human subjects. Over time, the number of cell lines available will increase, as human donations are received. NYSCF has set up a rigorous protocol to both protect patient privacy and ensure the safe and anonymous collection of samples from human donors.

Currently, a small pilot sample of iPS cell lines is available in a searchable online database. It includes samples from diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and Multiple Sclerosis as well as samples from healthy donors from diverse genetic backgrounds. This database is open source and user friendly and is part of NYSCF's efforts to foster collaborative research by way of data sharing.

"NYSCF's mission is to develop new treatments for patients. Building the necessary infrastructure and making resources available to scientists around the world to further everyone's research are critical steps in accomplishing this goal," said Susan L. Solomon, CEO of The New York Stem Cell Foundation.

The technology needed to create such a varied collection of stem cell lines is proprietary to NYSCF. The organization has created the trademarked NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array. It is an automated robotic system capable of producing 200 iPS cell lines a month. It is also used for stem cell differentiation and drug screening. This process ensures that the cell lines are properly differentiated for research purposes and are free from drugs that could affect the outcome of studies using the cell lines.

The main goal of the NYSCF repository is to be a resource for researchers across the globe. In order to develop these resources, the Foundation has partnered with over 50 disease organizations, academic institutions, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies. One notable example, The Cure Alzheimer's Fund Stem Cell Consortium, a group including NYSCF and five other institutions, is directly investigating, for the first time, brain cells in petri dishes from individual patients who have the common sporadic form of Alzheimer's disease.

The NYSCF hopes to make this repository of stem cells a catalyst for research and development into many of today's most troublesome diseases. The partnerships being developed are key to the success of the program. "We are entering this next important phase of using stem cells to understand disease and discover new drugs. Having collaborated with NYSCF extensively over the last five years on the automation of stem cell production and differentiation, it's really an exciting moment to see these new technologies that NYSCF has developed now being made available to the entire academic and commercial research communities," said Dr. Kevin Eggan, Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University and Principal Investigator of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

Image: Imperial College London
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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