Stem Cell Systems
When one mentions the term "stem cells", the almost immediate reaction is to think of embryonic stem cells (ES cells), how they can produce numerous tissues, their potential therapeutic use and, of course, their ethical ramifications. Embryonic stem cells are produced from the blastocyst of a fertilized egg. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) are derived from adult cells that have been genetically manipulated to produce cells that demonstrate stem cell properties. Newer techniques for producing iPS cells, may not even require genetic manipulation. The iPS cells may also exhibit many of the properties of ES cells in that they can be induced into many different cell lineages. Although much news coverage will focus on these new and promising stem cell systems, others have been known for decades and have been providing valuable therapeutic help to patients for many years. The stem cell system that provides a model for virtually all other stem cells systems is the blood-forming or lympho-hematopoietic system. More than 70 years of research on the blood-forming system, has provided the basic knowledge on stem cell characteristics and properties that are used for all other stem cell systems.
- Stem cells are a self-renewing population
- Stem cells are undifferentiated cells
- Stem cells demonstrate the highest capacity of any cells to proliferate
- Stem cells are capable of producing one or more lineages of functionally, mature cells
The lympho-hematopoietic system is one of five primary stem cells systems of the body that are responsible for the continuous production of functional cells. These include:
- Stems cells of the gut
- Stem cells of the reproductive organs (ovary and testis)
- Stem cells of the skin
- Stem cells of the corneal epithelium of the eye
These stem cell systems show a similar organization to that of the lympho-hematopoietic system.
In addition, there are other stem cell systems that may not be continuously proliferating systems of the body, but may be required in times of need. These include:
- Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) that can produce stroma, adipocytes, chondrocytes, osteoblasts, muscle cells and even specific types of neural cells. The MSC system demonstrates a similar organization to that of the blood-forming system
- Stem cells (oval cells) of the liver
- Neural stem cells
- Heart stem cells
- Teeth stem cells
HemoGenix® has developed specialized and general assays that can be multiplexed to help investigate and analyze virtually all of these stem cell systems in a quantitative and standardized manner. These assays are available as contract research services as well as assay kits for in-house use. Please contact HemoGenix® for more information.