Angela Hernandez
Apr 5, 2012

New stem cell line offers safe and prolific source for transplant studies

A new stem cell line generated by researchers at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia can develop into numerous types of specialized cells, including functioning pancreatic beta cells that produce insulin. Called endodermal progenitor (EP) cells, these new cells, unlike embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells, do not form tumors when transplanted into animals. The team manipulated two types of human stem cells, embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), to become EP cells. Signaling molecules called cytoskines were used to direct ESCs and iPSCs into becoming EP cells committed to developing into endoderm. In both cell cultures and when transplanted into animals, the study showed that EP cells can differentiate into multiple cell types, such as the ones found in the liver, pancreas and intestine.