Differentiation and Purification of Neural Precursors from Human Embryonic Stem Cells
Inventors: Su-Chun Zhang, James Thomson, Ian Duncan
The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a simple and efficient method of differentiating human embryonic stem cells into neural precursor cells.
Human embryonic stem (hES) cells have the potential to provide a source of specific cell types for research and ultimately, for therapeutic transplantation into humans.
UW-Madison researchers have developed a simple and efficient method of differentiating human embryonic stem cells into neural precursor cells for pharmaceutical screening and potential transplant therapy. This system is easily standardized. First, hES cells are aggregated into embryoid bodies. Next, the embryoid bodies are treated with fibroblast growth factors to induce the cells’ development into a relatively pure culture of neural precursor cells. The resulting neural precursor cells have been shown to differentiate into neurons and glia, both in vitro and after transplantation into neonatal mouse brains.
- Isolating a population of neural precursors
- May lead to novel treatments for nervous system damage, including damage resulting from stroke or spinal cord injuries
- Pharmaceutical and toxicological screening of a compound’s effect on neuronal development and function
- Allows efficient differentiation of hES cells into transplantable neural precursor cells in a standard culture system
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