The new center (established with a five-year grant totaling $4.3 million) will prepare and distribute a continuous supply of marrow stromal cells (MSCs) derived from adult human and rat bone marrow, respectively, using standardized protocols. Adult MSCs, also known as mesenchymal stem cells, are multipotential, non-hematopoietic stem cells that appear to have the capacity to differentiate into many different cell types, including bone, cartilage, neurons, and fat. Previous research has shown that when injected into animals whose bone marrow function has been altered, progeny of the MSCs populate several tissues, including bone, cartilage, lung, skin, liver, and brain.
Adult MSCs may be useful for cellular therapies for a number of diseases as well as for understanding basic features of stem cell biology, but these areas of research have been inhibited by the lack of standard MSC preparations that can be compared by different laboratories. To solve this problem, the Tulane center will prepare MSCs by the best current procedures using bone marrow collected on-site and will distribute the cells worldwide. The center also will derive MSCs from bone marrow preparations provided by individual laboratories and will return the cells to those laboratories for use in individual research programs.
"While the potential for adult stem cell research is great, the technical requirements and the expense of producing high-quality cells limit the capacity of investigators to proceed with their research," said Dr. Judith Vaitukaitis, Director of NCRR. "This center, with the emphasis on quality control and standardized methods, will move this promising research for
Contact: Joyce McDonald
NIH/National Center for Research Resources