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Utilisation of the mesenchymal stem cell receptome for rational development of uniform, serum-free culture conditions and tools for cell characterization (PurStem)
Start date: Nov 1, 2008, End date: Apr 30, 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Stem cells offer a promising avenue to therapy for a wide range of complaints. However, for this potential to be realized, a consistent and plentiful supply of well-characterised stem cells is essential. There has been relatively little progress in the development of new culture technologies for the large-scale manufacture of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). There is a strong possibility that this limited ability to produce stem cells will result in delays to the translation of new therapies to the clinic. This will have a direct negative effect on the health of European citizens suffering from diseases untreatable by conventional medical technology and delay European efforts to promote “NanoMedicine - Nanotechnology for Health”. PurStem will progress the state of the art in the production of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in large quantities. The current state of the art has several weaknesses - there are no standards for characterisation, isolation or identification of MSCs from any tissue, nor are there standard protocols for differentiation of MSCs to various lineages. Additionally, surface markers used for MSC characterization lack specificity and cryopreservation protocols are not standardized. Critically, current production methods for MSC require the use of animal products with major contaminant implications. PurStem will • Identify the MSC “receptome” and • Use this repertoire of growth factor receptors to • Develop novel serum-free media for MSC production. PurStem will also result in novel antibody reagents for specific MSC characterization and contribute to GMP manufacturing standards to enable rapid progression to production of serum-free MSC for clinical applications. The impact on a range of therapeutic and research domains of having a reliable supply of industrial levels of categorised MSCs will be significant. PurStem represents a key enabler for stem cell applications in a range of therapeutic fields.

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