The embryonic stem cell (ES cell) holds tremendous potential as a therapeutic cell source for repairing or replacing deceased tissues or organs. The current methodology based on the quantification of changes in gene expression are not sensitive enough to detect cells undergoing cell type switching. Therefore, current technology does not allow early detection of changes in cell type identity. The proposed study will allow us to develop a new approach to predict future cell type identity before ES cells have taken on permanent cell identity. If the goal of the proposed study is accomplished, we will have a rapid screening method for staging and identifying ES cells that are in transition from stem cell to differentiated cell types.
The proposed study will allow us to develop new methodology in characterizing embryonic stem cells and their derivatives with special metabolic functions. If successful, it will greatly enhance the way that we phenotype cells for transplantation in terms of time-saving and accuracy. Patients who receive stem cell therapy will have a better assurance of purity and differentiation stages of transplanted cells. Future commercialization of the methodology will potentially create tax revenue for the State and employment opportunities for its citizens.