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Stem Cell Research

Stem Cell Production

MStem Cell Laboratories

The University of Michigan is a long-time leader in the study of stem cells. So when voters in Michigan passed a 2008 state constitutional amendment allowing the production of new embryonic stem cells, the University was poised to quickly become a leader in this emerging and potent field of medical research. With the formation of the Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies (CSCT) in early 2009, the University created a multi-disciplinary team of leading researchers from across campus. As part of the U-M Medical School, the CSCT became responsible for the derivation, storage and distribution of new induced pluripotent stem cells and human embryonic stem cells.

Today, the division of the CSCT working with human embryonic stem cells is known as MStem Cell Laboratories. MStem Cell is one of only a handful of academic institution-based programs in the country dedicated to the derivation of disease affected stem cells. The MStem Cell Laboratories mission is to produce unique stem cells that will accelerate our understanding of specific human disorders and lead to eventual therapies and cures. The development of innovative technologies for the growth of stem cells is at the forefront of efforts. Bringing the global research community the best tools to improve future study potential and shorten the time span from initial discovery to clinical application is the goal.

A lot has been accomplished in the last few years. Researchers at MStem Cell Laboratories have already produced six genetically normal and 10 disease-affected embryonic stem cell lines, providing new and invaluable resources to scientists at the U-M and throughout the global research community.

Focus on Innovation

In this emerging field of medical research and clinical care, MStem Cell Laboratories are working on innovations to more rapidly move new stem cell therapies through the human trials process, and on to clinic use. In an exciting collaboration with chemical engineers and material scientists in the U-M College of Engineering, they have developed a new fully-synthetic artificial surface for the growth of stem cells—the first of its kind—which prevents tissue contamination from foreign feeder cells. Until now, mouse feeder cells have been the growth surface for stem cells. This non-human cell-cell interaction with human stem cells contaminates the human cells with mouse proteins and has meant a mandatory fifteen-year wait period between Phase I (safety) and Phase II (efficacy) human trials investigating stem cell replacement therapies. The new synthetic or “xeno-free” growth surface was designed to eliminate that lengthy gap.

Disease-affected embryonic stem cell lines developed By MStem Cell Laboratories

Aniridia (PAX6) – 2 lines
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Type 1 – 2 lines
Hemophilia B
Huntington’s disease
Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Deficiency
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy
Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia, Type 2A
Marfan Syndrome