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Stem Cell Lines Derived to Avoid Immune Rejection

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the making-miniscule-medical-marvels dept.

Biotech 41

stemceller brings us a story about an experiment that was published online in the journal Cloning & Stem Cells. The paper demonstrated that embryonic stem cells can be used to develop therapeutic cells which will not provoke an immune response from a significant portion of the population. This comes alongside news that UC Irvine researchers have found a method of sorting stem cells that should be "quicker, easier and more cost-effective than current methods." The Cloning & Stem Cells publication states: "It is likely that treatment of large numbers of patients by cell therapy will only be possible if methods are found using any one cell line to treat very large numbers of patients. This very exciting paper represents a significant step forward towards the use of such cells in cell therapy."

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41 comments

UC "Irving" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21776650)

It's UC Irvine.

Sperm's trick (4, Interesting)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21776750)

They could also use the same sugar-based markers that sperm uses [sciencedaily.com]. This makes the cell universally ignored by the immune system. Of course, certain cancers use the same trick, so I'm not sure you want to put a bunch of them in your body.

Personally I think I'd rather have my own personal cell line which matches my immune system exactly. The latest cloning news of adult cells shows it's quite likely in my lifetime.

Re:Sperm's trick (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777524)

Oh great, now any bacteria reading this forum know how to avoid the human immune system. Good work, sparky.

Re:Sperm's trick (1)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778258)

Personally I think I'd rather have my own personal cell line which matches my immune system exactly. The latest cloning news of adult cells shows it's quite likely in my lifetime.
Given the stories about people creating/extracting stem cells from skin and/or bone marrow, it is very likely that "cloning", per se, won't even be necessary. Stem cells made from your own body will be able to create any kind of cell you need, and it will always* be a perfect match for you.

*(Barring truly bizarre circumstances)

brought to you by umbrella corporation (2, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21776770)

embryonic stem cells can be used to develop therapeutic cells which will not provoke an immune response from a significant portion of the population.

I see. In that case, my only advice is to make sure you aim for the head when the time comes.

Unintented consequences (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21776784)

Just wait until this undetectable thingie mutates and turns against us.

HLA homozygote (3, Insightful)

David Munch (939296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21776828)

I was wondering how they would do this.. And surprise, according to the article they are using a homozygote for the most prevalent HLA gene in the US, which means that this probably will only be for ~20% of the US population, and on top of that probably *only* in the US and not the rest of the world. But of course, it could open up for several stem-cell lines and I still see it as a great achievement.

Re:HLA homozygote (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21776976)

Good God! You mean there's a Hot Lesbian Action gene??? I gotta get out more.

Sorry, I'll try to be more grown-up in the future.

Teratomas? (2, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21776832)

Seems like a risk of teratomas if you get these things injected into you.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1748928.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Teratomas? (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21779022)

Stop with the FUD.

Nobody wants to inject embryonic stem cells into people directly. The whole point of ESCs is that they're pluripotent - can be coerced to differentiate into virtually any cell. The idea is to differentiate the ESCs into whatever is necessary to repair the damage... nerve cells, muscle cells, etc... and likely do it in-vitro even BEFORE the transplant. Or possibly in-situ, immediately afterwards. Nobody wants undifferentiated ESCs in patients.

So would you please stop with the FUD. It's annoying.

Wahey! (2, Funny)

knutkracker (1089397) | more than 6 years ago | (#21776868)

Where do I sign up for the entirely unethical grow-a-third-arm/penis-extension/bionic-nostril-hair experiments that some dodgy life-science startup are sure to want to fund?

engineered virus not rejected by immunity systems? (2, Interesting)

Atreide (16473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777008)

that's great to have stem cells not rejected,

that path the way to artificial virus that is also not killed by immune system

what a deadly weapon !

Re:engineered virus not rejected by immunity syste (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21777072)

that path's the way to artificial bacteria that are also not killed by immune system
fixed that for you

It's not torture if it's theraputic (0, Offtopic)

giafly (926567) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777176)

Sadly, I predict orders from the KGB [msn.com] and CIA [channel4.com].

Re:It's not torture if it's theraputic (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777328)

Torture? If an organization wished to put this to evil use, about the only thing it could do with it is engineer an epidemic disease to commit acts of mass murder/terrorism against an enemy population. For interrogating or assassinating individuals, it would just make no sense as the defining strength of biological weapons is their ability to spread on their own.

There are other paths (4, Interesting)

bradbury (33372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777362)

As pointed out by others, injecting embryonic stem cells into individuals is problematic due to the risks of teratoma. The process of development is a gradual process of differentiation into different cell types and most therapies work with partially differentiated stem cells. So one still has the problem of taking the stem cell lines and differentiating the cells into bone marrow (blood), nerve, liver, kidney, muscle, skin, etc. cells for specific applications.

I have just filed a provisional patent application on a process for isolating self-pristine partially differentiated stem cells which I believe can be brought within the realm of affordability. I don't know about others but I would be much more comfortable, particularly at the neuron level, being treated with my own stem cells rather than someone elses even if they are HLA matched. The only good reason in my mind to use foreign stem cells is to correct severe biochemical defects if no gene therapies are available.

Re:There are other paths (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777564)

I'm not going to license your patent. If I get any teratomas I will have them removed and raise them as children.

They'll be ugly little bastards, but they'll be immortal and capable of limb regeneration. I'm sure they'll be able to make a living as superheros or something.

TOP TIP: Do NOT do a Google image search for "teratoma"

Re:There are other paths (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778096)

Augh! I wasn't going to do it until you warned me not to! You should have warned me away from your warning!

Re:There are other paths (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778324)

Actually, now that you've seen one here's what it is.

A teratoma is essentially a lump of cancerous stem cells. They can differentiate to form any tissue - teratomas often have teeth, skin and hair and muscles inside a large fleshy mass, but all the cell replication controls are disabled so they grow into bizarre twisted, pulsating forms. The creepiest thing is that sometimes when surgeons remove them, they *flinch*, at least according to a stomach churning documentary I was glued to for some reason. They're a bit like the alien in The Thing really, or The Many in System Shock 2. The name comes from teratos, the greek word for monster.

Some joked about the flinching thing here
http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=313859&area=/columnist__tom_eaton/ [mg.co.za]

I Shouldn't Be Alive, one of a dizzying number of new series dedicated to the visceral thrill of the narrow squeak, sounds promising at first. At last, one assumes, a show in which impossible odds are overcome and life affirmed. Perhaps episode one will introduce us to a parasitic teratoma, sporting half an eye, a tooth and a hank of hair, who escapes the scalpel and incinerator and is given all the advantages of its more intact, less pulsating siblings. It goes to law school, answering multiple choice questions by flinching or not flinching. It fights prejudice in the office by rolling about on the desks of bigots, getting ooze on their memos. At last it goes into politics and, supported by the love of a good woman (and her handbag, in which it travels to rallies), it becomes president. Now that's adversity. That's television.

Re:There are other paths (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 6 years ago | (#21781086)

Is this the same phenomenon that occurs when a twin absorbs its uteral room-mate, or is that different?

Re:There are other paths (1)

bradbury (33372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790182)

That is different. What you have there is incomplete separation of two legitimate separation of two complete twins. Twins do not normally "absorb" one another. You can have cases where you fail to have complete identical twin separation, one twin dies and the other twin ends up with the extra body parts. The recent case in India of a child with 4 arms and 4 legs is an example that required 3 days of surgery to correct is an example.

The most important thing ... (5, Interesting)

snoggeramus (945056) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777584)

... to remember when it comes to stem cells is that all the medical successes to date are from adult stem cells (from bone marrow etc) and not embryonic sources. Despite the spin presented to the media and politicians, there have been NO medical breakthroughs with embyonic stem cells.

Adult stem cells for treatment can be harvested in a timely manner from your own body and hence negate the issue of possible rejection. (And nobodys kid cops it, either!)

Re:The most important thing ... (1)

zibix (654122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21777630)

I also find it fascinating that this is being heralded as some sort of break-through when it's almost a step backward from using adult stem cells.

Re:The most important thing ... (2)

Hellad (691810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778430)

That is become some people are just so darn happy to use those embryonic stem cells. There is something sexy about turning babies into new lungs.

Re:The most important thing ... (0, Troll)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21778740)

A hunk of zygotic cells is no more a baby than a teratoma is.

Re:The most important thing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21779718)

A hunk of zygotic cells is no more a baby than a teratoma is.
I wouldn't say a blastocyst is the same as a baby. But you have to admit, all babies were blastocysts just a little while ago. No baby was ever a teratoma. You'd have to be an idiot to deny that there is some relation there.

Re:The most important thing ... (1, Interesting)

espergreen (849246) | more than 6 years ago | (#21779614)

Yet using Adult stem cells seems to have the same ethical problems as embryonic ones. Adult stem cells are only useful if they are modified to become Totipotent [wikipedia.org]. Which means -- like an embryo -- they have the ability to turn into a human.

I never understood why anti-abortion advocates like Adult stem cells so much; unless, of course, they are basing their argument on emotion instead of reason.

Re:The most important thing ... (2, Interesting)

Xtravar (725372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21780726)

The logical argument could be that no human has ever been created asexually.

I guess it's the difference between killing poor people to harvest their organs and growing humans in a lab to harvest their organs.

Just playin' devil's advocate...

Except (1)

Cappy Red (576737) | more than 6 years ago | (#21790202)

The logical argument could be that no human has ever been created asexually.
Except for that one guy that many anti-abortion advocates believe in.

... just sayin'.

Re:The most important thing ... (3, Insightful)

fredclown (878276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21781878)

Pro-life advocates prefer adult stem cells because it does not require the destruction of an embryo. Preferring life is not an emotional argument. It is in fact a reasonable argument. What is unreasonable is anti-life(to use your own line of reasoning) advocates who claim that a developing baby is not fully human, when at 6 weeks there is a heart beat including a developed nervous system and brain waves. These brain waves are not supplied by the mother. The pumping heart is not the mothers. It is the child's and thus is it's own life form. The mother does not grow the child, the child grows itself. The mother only serves as an incubation chamber. There are reasonable arguments to be pro-life. Simply because you disagree with the position does not man that the arguments are based only on emotion. You sir or mam are simply trying to set up a straw man argument that you can easily push over to make your views look better and to ease your conscience.

Re:The most important thing ... (1)

Tinyn (1100891) | more than 6 years ago | (#21779742)

There have been no breakthroughs because no is allowed to experiment on them. No ones murdering babies to get embryonic stem cells. The argument is all over already harvested, but frozen, cells that could theoretically be implanted into a surrogate mother and grow up. But theres no real reason for anyone to surrogate for those, when theres a zillion other ways to get pregnant out there. Oh, and embryonic stem cells that can be harvested from the remains of an abortion. Thats going to happen anyway, might as well get some use from it.

Re:The most important thing ... (1)

ndansmith (582590) | more than 6 years ago | (#21781730)

There have been no breakthroughs because no is allowed to experiment on them.
There is a moratorium on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in the United States. There is no restriction on experimenting with such cells in the US. All there is is a lack of funding from the federal government. Private groups and state governments can and do fund embryonic stem cell research in the US, and such research also is conducted in other countries.

Immune System Rejection (1)

AitchCay (1119953) | more than 6 years ago | (#21779256)

Doesn't this create a huge risk of engineered biological weapons that will bypass our immune system? If you can create stem cells that the body won't reject upon implantation, couldn't you also create a biological weapon where you alter some single celled organism using the dna from these stem cells so that the human immune system doesn't attack it?

Re:Immune System Rejection (1)

Grygus (1143095) | more than 6 years ago | (#21783200)

We can already engineer biological weapons so lethal that it wouldn't matter whether the immune system responded to it.

I Am Legend. (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#21780004)

It is likely that treatment of large numbers of patients by cell therapy will only be possible if methods are found using any one cell line to treat very large numbers of patients.

I support this type of research, but would like to half-seriously refer the person who tagged this thread with "whatcouldpossiblygowrong" (or people who wonder the same) to see the movie "I Am Legend". That's what could go wrong. Scientists are smart, but not infallible. :-O

meh (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21781266)

not to be all hatin and stuff but realistically if they don't find a test to see who will reject them and who won't, it's kinda way too dangerous and thus not a good idea. I'm severely allergic to like...everything and my immune system blows away colds in under 48 hours usually. It's like attack dog white blood cells lol. So I'd be kinda nervous that I'd be in the group that would reject them. I'm all for Stargate Atlantis nanites though.

Personally looking forward for this (1)

PtrToNull (742886) | more than 6 years ago | (#21787144)

I recently celebrated the 10th anniversary for my kidney transplant, and as someone who has to take a cocktail of immunosuppression medications daily for the last 10 years, I'm really looking forward for advances in the field. The problem is that the kidney is, unlike the liver for example, is a complex organ so I'm not sure how they'll grow one that my body doesn't rejects, perhaps by growing them in other animals?

Despite the medications and their side effects, it beats living on hemodialysis. Furthermore, before the transplant, I was under the impression that my immune system will be so compromised that I'll get sick for any reason, but I have been very healthy, even more than the average folks. The only catch that if you do get sick, then you're in trouble. A regular cold lasts 3-4 weeks with me if I'm lucky.
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