Cincinnati Children's Hospital has opened a ground breaking $600,000 stem cell facility, in a 650-square-foot space that has room to grow.
The Pluripotent Stem Cell Facility opened in January, and is the first of its kind in Ohio, Indiana or Kentucky. Researchers from Cincinnati Children's and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine are working together, studying the cause – and possible new organ and tissue replacement treatments – of a myriad of diseases.
Known as "induced pluripotent stem cells," these cells come from patients who have a disease. It's an emerging technology and these cells have the theoretical ability to become more than 200 different cell types found in humans.
"This technology is a bit like the internal combustion engine in terms of how it will drive future advances in stem cell biology," explains facility director James Wells. "It allows us to use cells from patients to study what goes wrong at the genetic and cellular level to cause their disease -- whether it's muscular dystrophy, diabetes or any number of degenerative diseases. This technology could allow us to fix genetic defects and use these cells to generate healthy cells and tissues to treat or cure the patient."
Researchers have already developed pancreatic cells that make insulin, retinal cells of the eye, nerve cells of the brain, intestinal cells, and liver cells.
The facility offers training in the generation and use of pluripotent stem cells for scientists to take to their own labs. It also offers cell line maintenance and other of pluripotent stem cell services. The facility is poised to grow along with demand for its services.
"Given the rapidly developing pace of this technology, it's easy to envision a day where pediatric hospitals like Cincinnati Children's will be able to provide services for generating and banking pluripotent stem cells from specific patients for future therapeutic use," Wells said.
Sources: Cincinnati Children's Hospital, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
Writer: Feoshia Henderson