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university of tampere: faculty of medicine and life sciences: research:
Lääketieteen ja biotieteiden tiedekuntaUniversity of TampereLääketieteen ja biotieteiden tiedekunta
Susanna Miettinen - Adult Stem Cell Group

About research group

The adult stem cell research at BMT focuses on the characterization, the optimization of growth conditions and the use of cells in bone, cartilage, skin and soft tissue applications. The studies are always designed and implemented considering clinical applications. The clinical patient treatments with stem cells are currently concentrating on bone applications.


About Stem Cell Research

Cell and tissue technology is a fast-developing, biotechnology-utilizing area of science whose practical applications in supporting surgery and in new treatment alternatives are considered significant.

The stem cells are multipotent cells that are able to form into multiple cell types or regenerate as stem cells. The stem cells can be harvested from multiple sources, such as embryos, bone marrow and the stem cell populations of the different organs and tissues.

Embryonic Stem Cells

The stem cell line of the embryo is generated from the embryos that are 5-6 days old. The cells of the inner cell mass are grown on the fibroblasts, functioning as support cells that prevent the diversification process. Thus, more cells can be generated while preserving their multipotency. The embryos are received as donations from the couples that have undergone in-vitro fertilization treatments with a written consent from both parties. IBT only uses the embryos that have been unsuitable for fertility treatment and would have been destroyed if they had not been donated for research.

The embryonic stem cells are the most promising cells for clinical application due to their great multipotency. New cellular tissue can be generated from multipotent stem cells to replace the damaged or ageing tissues. Neuron, muscle, fat, heart muscle, and hepatocyte cells, among others, have been diversified from the embryonic stem cells. The advances and growth of the stem cell research as a discipline has raised hopes for using the embryonic stem cells as new treatment methods for the diseases that cause cellular and tissue destruction. Such diseases are diabetes, myocardial hypofunction and serious neurological injuries. The diversification of the cells is a complicate process, however, and generating a clean, enriched and transplantable cellular population requires long-term research. The embryonic stem cell transplants have not been tried on humans in Finland so far.

Adult Stem Cells

The stem cells from adults can already be used in cellular treatments for patients. Stem cells can be isolated from the patient’s own tissue, such as the adipose tissue or bone marrow. They can be cultivated in cell cultures and then transferred back into the patient (so-called autologous cellular transplant) either as such or as combined with the biomaterials. By using the patients’ own cells in cellular transplants, the rejection reactions can be avoided.

A positive side with the adult human stem cells is that they can be used in autologous cellular transplants. Nonetheless, the adult stem cells are less multipotent than the embryonic stem cells. The research has shown, however, that the stem cells isolated from the adult tissue have much greater multipotency than known before and thus their application possibilities are broad. Bone, cartilage, fat, tendon, and muscle cells, among others, can be diversified from the adult stem cells. The diversified cells can be used e.g. in the treatment of the musculoskeletal injuries.

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS)

Adult cells that are already differentiated can be reprogrammed into pluripotent cells in defined conditions. These cells are called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and they can be generated from, for example, skin fibroblasts, whose collection is quite easy. Generating pluripotent stem cells from normal adult cells opens up novel possibilities in regenerative medicine. Cells and tissues used in clinical transplantations could be derived from iPS cells generated from patient’s own cells thus avoiding immunological problems and ethical issues related to embryonic stem cells. However, prior to the use of iPS cells in clinical applications, the cells need to be characterized thoroughly and their generation techniques need to be improved. Nonetheless, iPS cells are believed to offer new efficient tools for drug development and even for patient-specific drug development in the near future.

Faculty of Medicine and Life Sciences
Arvo Ylpön katu 34
33520 Tampere, Finland
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Last update: 9.4.2015 13.30 Muokkaa

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