In a specially designed facility that is compliant with FDA Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) requirements, scientists with the Eli and Edythe Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have taken human skin cells, reprogrammed them to be pluripotent and then differentiated them into neurons, using animal origin-free reagents and feeder conditions throughout the process.

This is the first time scientists have been able to derive potentially clinically usable induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and differentiate them into neurons in animal origin-free derivation and differentiation conditions using commercially available reagents to facilitate broad application.

The Broad center researchers also developed a set of standard operating procedures for the process, so other scientists can benefit from the derivation and differentiation techniques performed under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) protocols. GMP protocols are tightly controlled and regulated so the cells created meet all the standards required for use in human beings.

“Developments in stem cell research show that pluripotent stem cells ultimately will be translated into therapies, so we are working to develop the methods and systems needed to make the cells safe for human use,” Karumbayaram said.

The study appears Dec. 7, 2011 in the early online edition of the inaugural issue of the peer-reviewed journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, a new journal that seeks to bridge stem cell research and clinical trials.

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