New Cryoprotective Tools For hES Cells and hEP Cells

Funding Type: 
Tools and Technologies I
Grant Number: 
RT1-01015
Investigator: 
ICOC Funds Committed: 
$0
Public Abstract: 
Embryonic stem cells have the ability to become any cell in the body and are capable of continuously renewing themselves. Therefore they have the potential to provide an unlimited source of replacement cells for treating many medical conditions where cells have been lost to injury or to degenerative processes associated with disease and aging such as diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and macular degeneration for example. However, a safe way of storing human embryonic cells and cells that are made from them is needed so that replacement cells are available for physicians to treat their patients and for researchers to have a standardized source of cells for developing therapeutic treatments. Freezing to liquid nitrogen temperatures is an effective way of preserving cells for future use and has traditionally been used by the scientific and medical community. For example, cancer cells, sperm cells, skin cells and even early embryos are routinely frozen to store samples for future use and can be safely used years or decades later provided the appropriate freezing solutions and protocols are followed. Embryonic stem cells can be frozen and stored using traditional methods but they typically do not survive well and there have been few studies to optimize and standardize freezing methods that would allow long term storage without altering the properties of the cells while at the same time preserving their viability. Moreover, scientists recently have developed ways to convert stem cells to the multitude of cells that appear during embryonic development. These embryonic precursor cell lines are intermediate cells having properties between embryonic cells and the fully developed cells that make up our body tissues. They represent a rich source of cells for researchers to study embryogenesis and to devise ways to make any desired body replacement cell starting from embryonic stem cells. However, more effective methods are also needed to store these cells so that a cell bank can be made available for stem cell researchers to use on demand. We propose to develop new and improved methods of freezing stem cells and embryonic precursor cells. We will test novel freezing methods and new formulations containing a medically approved blood substitute and non-traditional preservatives that have already shown promising results for freezing tissues in experimental animals. We will optimize freezing of both human embryonic stem cells and embryonic precursor cells that we will derive from embryonic stem cells in our laboratories. The resulting methods and formulations will help researchers and patients by providing a way to safely and effectively store embryonic cells for future use in the laboratory and in the clinic.
Statement of Benefit to California: 
With the passing of proposition 71 in 2004, California is destined to become the nation’s leading center for regenerative medicine. However, before cell replacement and other regenerative treatments can come to the bedside there needs to be a solid foundation of core technologies on which to build regenerative therapies so that they can become routine medical practices. One of these core technologies is known as cryogenics or the ability to safely freeze biological material for future use. We propose to develop new and improved methods of freezing stem cells and embryonic precursor cells. We will test novel freezing methods and new formulations containing a medically approved blood substitute and non-traditional preservatives that have already shown promising results for freezing tissues in experimental animals. We will optimize freezing of both human embryonic stem cells and embryonic precursor cells that we will derive from embryonic stem cells in our laboratories. The resulting methods and formulations will benefit California researchers and patients by providing a way to safely and effectively store embryonic cells for future use in the laboratory and in the clinic.

© 2013 California Institute for Regenerative Medicine