Chemists try to make human embryonic stem cells survive the «cell death». The researchers are often frustrated by the fact of massive death of the cells.
A new study has been published in the journal «Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences» devoted to the research of two small molecules that enhance the survival of human embryonic stem cells. The invastigation was led by a team of a doctor Yue Xua of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.
The fact is that human embryonic stem cells are the precursors to specific organ tissues in the body of any adult person. In 1998 a University of Wisconsin team of scientists first isolated human embryonic stem cells, since then biomedical researchers have looked to the cells to screen drugs, investigate organ development and, perhaps, provide rejection-free transplant tissues for patients suffering ailments such as diabetes and paralysis.
The pair of cell survival compounds, called thiazole and pyrimidine, keep the fragile cells alive by preventing damage to a substance on the surface of the cells that keeps them attached to growth gels, after they have been removed from an embryo. The team showed that dosing the cells with the compounds greatly improves their survival, which should ease research on human stem cells.
That time human embryo-destroying research garnered controversy, resulting in President George Bush's restricted approval of federal research funding to already existing cell lines, a policy overturned last year.