Protocol allows fast-track production of RPE cells

May 01, 2013

A team of scientists reports that it has found a way to isolate retinal pigment epithelium cells from human pluripotent stem cells as early as 14 days following the onset of differentiation.

 

Santa Barbara, CA-A team of scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) reports that it has found a way to isolate retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells as early as 14 days following the onset of differentiation.

Protocols to generate RPE from human pluripotent stem cells are time-consuming and relatively inefficient.

However, in the latest issue of Stem Cells Translational Medicine, the UCSB research team, led by Dennis Clegg, PhD, Peter Coffey, PhD, and David Buchholz, PhD, report that they based their study on earlier reports that neural retinal progenitors could be generated through the application of a handful factors.

“As RPE and the neural retina arise from a common progenitor pool, we sought to determine whether this protocol could be altered to direct pluripotent stem cells to RPE with a similar efficiency,” Dr. Clegg said. “Through the combined use of the retinal inducing factors . . . and other factors added at specific times, we found that pluripotent stem cells could be directed to RPE . . . with an efficiency of about 80%-and it only took 14 days.”

“This study shows that it is now possible to produce homogeneous cultures in a shorter period of time,” said James Thomson, VMD, PhD, a Wisconsin-based researcher who was the first to isolate human embryonic stem cells.

For more articles in this issue of Ophthalmology Times eReport, click here.

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