Now, researchers at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., think they might have found an answer. Reporting in the October issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, they detail a low-cost, highly-effective way to detect and then purge at-risk cells during an early stage in the differentiation process.
"Strategies to improve the safety of stem cell therapy have generally focused on separating or depleting damaged cells after the cells have differentiated. However, while this method was able to diminish the number of tumors formed as well as significantly reduce their size, the technical burdens and cost of specialized reagents and equipment needed to do so remain a challenge for widespread clinical applications," says lead investigator Timothy J. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D. He directs the cell biology group within the clinic's Regenerative Strategies team.