Research Press Release

Simplifying stem cell culture

Nature Methods

April 11, 2011

A simplified and chemically defined culture system for growing human pluripotent stem cells is reported this week in Nature Methods. Such methods are important for standardizing results reported from different laboratories as well as for eventual clinical use of these cells.     Working with pluripotent stem cells remains part science, part almost art, since these cells are highly sensitive to culture conditions: if they are not treated correctly, they die or lose their ‘stemness’. Much effort in the past years has gone into defining the relevant components in the complex cocktail that permits these cells to grow in the culture dish.     James Thomson and colleagues report a systematic dissection of stem cell culture media to define its minimal constituents. In a painstaking combinatorial study, they winnow the necessary ingredients in the liquid culture medium down to just eight key components, all of which are chemically defined. Together with a defined surface coating, they show that this medium permits long-term culture of human ES cells as well as efficient derivation and long term culture of human induced pluripotent stem cells derived from fresh biopsies.

DOI:10.1038/nmeth.1593 | Original article

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