Pluripotent stem cells
are cells that can grow into any tissue. The ability to turn into any type of cell makes pluripotent stem cells a promising treatment for any number of disorders. However, this ability to differentiate into anything also comes with a dangerous side effect: The cells that don't turn into the desired tissue can instead form dangerous tumors called teratomas
. However, researchers have now demonstrated a method to weed out the dangerous teratoma forming cells from the beneficial stem cells.
Led by Micha Drukker
, a team of researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine
developed a new antibody that can identify the cells that don't differentiate into the needed tissue before they are transplanted into a patient. The researchers accomplished this by targeting pluripotency surface markers (PSMs,) which are changes within a cell that signify which type of cell it will become. The researchers targeted these specific cellular landmarks by developing antibodies that could seek out cells that did not differentiate.