Stem cells are the building blocks of the human body. They play a major role in the regeneration of tissues, and in the development of the human embryo. Stem cells are now at the center of world attention, since it has become evident that they possess the potential to change the face of transplantation medicine. A pluripotent stem cell that may differentiate in culture to all cell types is the ”Holy Grail” of cell-based therapy. Human embryonic stem cells and human induced-pluripotent stem cells are a unique scientific and medical resource. These cells may give rise to many cell types of the body, such as nerve, muscle, liver, heart, and blood, and thus they hold the promise to cure many human diseases. These cells are suggested to play a vital role in the therapy of a large number of diseases such as Parkinson disease, diabetes mellitus, liver cirrhosis, cardiac failure, etc. The potential of pluripotent stem cells to create tumors is currently the most major safety concern in their use in the clinic. Our research is aimed at the characterization of the tumors generated from the naive cells and after their continuous growth in culture. Our unique repository of pluripotent cell lines will enable us to discover the chromosomal regions that may control the aggressiveness of the tumors. In addition, we will attempt to identify the protein/s that characterize the tumors and use the data to generate new ways to reduce the risk of tumor formation.
California in now in a special position to lead the research on stem cells for years to come. Research with human embryonic stem cells has the capacity to change the face of regenerative medicine. Our own study will focus on the number one safety concern in the use of pluripotent stem cells in transplantation medicine. During transplantation of pluripotent stem cell only the mature differentiated cells should be transplanted since the undifferentiated cells may create tumors. Our research will characterize the tumors generated from the pluripotent cells and generate methodologies to reduce the risk of tumor formation. Thus, our research will serve as a unique opportunity for advancing our knowledge in stem cell research in California.