WARF: P130110US02

Generating Endothelial Cells from Human Pluripotent Stem Cells


Sean Palecek, Xiaojun Lian, Xiaoping Bao

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a simplified method for differentiating human pluripotent stem cells into endothelial cells without expensive growth factors.
OVERVIEWEndothelial cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) hold incredible potential for human health, for example, in the engineering of new blood vessels, heart regeneration and screening for cancer-slowing drugs.

To realize this potential, scalable and cost-effective methods must be found for generating endothelial cells from hPSCs. Current methods are inefficient and require expensive growth factors.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a new method for differentiating hPSCs into endothelial cells under chemically defined, growth factor-free conditions. Their method works by activating the Wnt/β signaling pathway for a defined period, e.g., using a Gsk3 inhibitor.

In the new process, hPSCs are contacted with the Wnt/β signaling activator for about two days in suitable culture medium. The cells are cultured in the absence of the activator for up to another 10 days, and undergo at least 14 population doublings. The culture medium is substantially free of exogenous growth factors like VEGF.

The entire process can be embodied in a kit containing (i) a Gsk3 inhibitor, (ii) suitable culture medium and (iii) appropriate instructions.
  • Efficiently generating endothelial cells from hPSCs
  • Steps are simplified and reproducible.
  • No costly growth factors
  • Faster – cells expand more than 16,000 fold within a month
  • More pure – can generate populations of 99 percent endothelial cells
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTThe researchers have generated cell populations of 60 percent endothelial cells without sorting or enrichment, and 99 percent after purification.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Andy DeTienne at or 608-960-9857.
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