Japan-Led Team Finds Inexpensive Way of Stable Blood Stem Cell Expansion

Science Society Technology

Tokyo, May 30 (Jiji Press)--An international research team led by a Japanese scientist has developed, in a world first, an effective, inexpensive method to let mouse hematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs, expand in laboratory apparatus stably for a long term.

Although some modifications will be necessary for the method's application to human HSC cultures, "once the changes are successfully made, the method is expected to facilitate treatment of blood diseases such as leukemia, because it can make a large quantity of HSCs available for transplantation into patients," said Satoshi Yamazaki, project associate professor at the University of Tokyo and head of the team.

Conventional methods to culture the self-renewal multipotent stem cells, which are found in bone marrow and can develop into blood-forming cells, use expensive bovine serum albumin as a culture medium. The costly methods, however, cannot achieve a stable, long-term expansion of functional HSCs.

According to the Yamazaki-led team, also including researchers from the Japanese government-affiliated research institute Riken and Stanford University of the United States, and its article published online in the British scientific journal Nature on Thursday Japan time, the novel method uses a type of synthetic resin called polyvinyl alcohol as the culture medium, instead of albumin.

Known as a major raw material for liquid adhesives, polyvinyl alcohol is easy to obtain and cheap.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press