Preparing for the mass production of stem cells
In 1981, scientists discovered how to create embryonic stem cells using mouse embryos. In 1998, they figured out how to do the same with human embryos. Now, stem cells can be created from a single skin or blood cell. While stem cell research continues to progress toward clinical applications, FDA regulations are developing to adapt to this rapidly changing landscape.
Once stem cell therapies are approved for widespread use, the potential benefits will be endless. Damaged tissue—be it the heart, lungs, brain, spine or cartilage—could be restored with an injection. Diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and Type 1 diabetes could be relegated to the past. And if we can find a way to use stem cells to clone organs, we may finally be able to put a dent in the world’s strained organ donation waiting list.
Consumers are still probably a decade or more away from enjoying such advancements, but for scientists, the work has already begun. Whether your lab focuses on research and development or mass production, there are numerous considerations that need to be taken today to bring stem cell therapies to market.
As the development of stem cells moves from embryonic to induced pluripotent (iPS) cells—requiring the genetic reengineering of a human somatic cell into a pluripotent cell—controlling the conditions in which your stem cells are grown has never been more important. From choosing the right surface for your cell cultures to determining the correct oxygen content for each type of stem cell, every decision is vital to the growth of your cell cultures so that pluripotency and correct characteristics are preserved.
With the potential for iPS cells to become virtually any type of cell you desire, scaling up your organization will begin with deciding which cells you want to mass produce. Ectoderm, endoderm and mesoderm cells could all lead to cures for some of humanity’s most severe illnesses—skin cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease, to name a few—and since each cell type will require its own specialized conditions, it’s up to your lab to decide how to allocate your resources. Keeping an eye on the latest medical research and clinical trials will likely point you in the right direction.
The last hurdle to bringing helpful stem cell therapies to the masses will be adhering to and working within regulations. While it is true that many countries differ in regulations and legal frameworks regarding stem cell research, all labs must prove their processes are reliable and reproducible. It is here where traceability is crucial, and a major part of traceability is utilizing equipment that documents the history, usage and applications of your research. One of the most important equipment decisions you will make in the production process is which incubator you will use to culture your stem cells. Picking the wrong incubator can lead to a loss in the quality and consistency of your cell cultures.
As one of the world’s most trusted CO2 incubator manufacturers, our products are designed to maximize the efficiency of your lab and help you meet regional regulations. With in-chamber sensors (temperature, CO2, O2 and humidity), Thermo Scientific THRIVE™ active airflow, touch-screen monitors and a variety of additional innovative incubator design elements, Thermo Fisher Scientific is poised to help transform stem cell research into stem cell solutions. Try our CO2Selector tool to view our wide range of innovativeincubators and find the right one for your lab and cell cultures.