Stem Cell Center researchers led by Drs. Carla Koehler and Michael Teitell discovered a new agent that may be useful in strategies to remove pluripotent stem cells that fail-to-differentiate from their progeny, tissue-specific cells, potentially resulting in safer therapies for patients. The study was published online ahead of press today in Developmental Cell.

Pluripotent stem cells can become any cell in the body. When stem cells are differentiated into specific daughter cells such as nerve, muscle, or bone cells, not all of the stem cells differentiate, leaving some pluripotent stem cells mixed in with the differentiated cells. Because of the pluripotent stem cell’s ability to become any cell type in the body, these cells can also become unintended cells such as bone in blood, or form tumors called teratomas. Therefore, identifying and removing pluripotent stem cells from the differentiated cells before using daughter cells is of utmost importance in stem cell-based therapeutics. Current methods for removing pluripotent stem cells are limited.

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