In our Tools and Technologies grant application we proposed to remove a major roadblock in the development of stem cell therapies, the lack of reliable tools for identification of human stem cells and cells differentiated from these stem cells.
In the last year we have made considerable progress toward this goal and have met all of our proposed milestones. In fact, we greatly exceeded our goals, generating and analyzing far more data than we had proposed.
Our success was made possible because of the following factors:
1. An novel analysis instrument (Illumina BeadStation) purchased with CIRM funds was installed in our laboratory.
2. A highly skilled staff and rigorous quality control methods led to generation of data of consistently higher quality than had been expected based on other researchers’ experience.
3. We made improvements in data analysis methods, which made it possible to analyze data more quickly.
4. Improvements in of reliability of reprogramming of iPSC lines and generation of hESC lines meant that we obtained more high quality lines for analysis than we had expected.
5. There was an unexpectedly high level of interest in collaboration, which led to addition of samples that were analyzed using other funding mechanisms.
6. We have created improved web tools to make access more efficient and user-friendly.
So far, we run more than 2000 tests from more than 250 undifferentiated and differentiated stem cell samples. We decided to develop our own database access platform that would allow our data to be used for simplified testing of new stem cell lines by other researchers throughout the world.
At our current benchmark, based on the CIRM-funded Stem Cell Matrix-2 data collection, we are able to predict pluripotency in cell cultures with >99% specificity and >99% sensitivity, using data from a single $80 microarray.