Reijo Pera

On Monday the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to Robert Edwards for his efforts to make in vitro fertilization a reality. The Nobel Prize-winning discovery not only allowed millions of couples to start families, it opened up the field of stem cell research.

According to the Nobel Prize press release:

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have created new stem cell lines from cells found in the human testes. Like embryonic stem cells, these cell lines are pluripotent, which means that they can form all cell types in the adult body. The work follows similar research finding that adult stem cells in mouse testes can be reprogrammed into pluripotent cells. However, the researchers found that the cells differed from embryonic stem cells in several important ways.

Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine derived new human embryonic stem cell lines using minimal animal products. Although numerous groups have derived stem cell lines, most were generated in the presence of animal serum and animal-derived feeder cells. These animal products are a concern because they may cause the stem cells to produce an immune response when transplanted into humans and may induce biological changes especially to the genome.