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Open Access Teratocarcinoma Formation in Embryonic Stem Cell-DerivedNeural Progenitor Hippocampal Transplants

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Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) hold great therapeutic potential due to their ability to differentiate into cells of the three primary germ layers, which can be used to repopulate disease-damaged tissues. In fact, two cell therapies using ESC derivatives are currently in phase I clinical trials. A main concern in using ESCs and their derivatives for cell transplantation is the ability of undifferentiated ESCs to generate tumors in the host. Positive selection steps are often included in protocols designed to generate particular cell types from ESCs; however, the transition from ESC to progenitor cell or terminally differentiated cell is not synchronous, and residual undifferentiated cells often remain. In our transplants of ESC-derived neural progenitors (ESNPs) into the adult mouse hippocampus, we have observed the formation of teratocarcinomas. We set out to reduce teratocarcinoma formation by enrichment of ESNPs using fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and have found that, although enrichment prior to transplant reduces the overall rate of teratocarcinoma formation, the tumorigenicity of cell batches can vary widely, even after FACS enrichment to as much as 95% ESNPs. Our data suggest that this variability may be due to the percentage of residual ESCs remaining in the transplant cell population and to the presence of pluripotent epiblast-like cells, not previously identified in transplant batches. Our data emphasize the need for stringent characterization of transplant cell populations that will be used for cell replacement therapies in order to reduce the risk of tumor formation.
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Keywords: Embryonic stem cells; Hippocampus; Neural progenitor; Teratocarcinoma

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-08-01

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

    Cell Transplantation is now being published by SAGE. Please visit their website for the most recent issues.

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