Human stem cell research provides the unique opportunity to study the complex events that occur during the early human development. The purpose of the Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Core Facility is to provide UNC scientists as well as outside collaborators with the services to successfully conduct basic as well as translational research using human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells. Housed in Taylor Hall, the Core Facility is equipped with all the resources needed to conduct human stem cell research.
The reprogramming technology became available a few years ago, when scientists showed that by introducing into a somatic cell several genes important for the embryonic stem cells self-renewal these somatic cells could become stem cells. The so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells represent a unique and very important source of cells for individualized therapy. Because these cells are derived from a patient’s own cells, the problems associated with tissue rejection are eliminated. Also, the iPS cells generated from patients with various diseases are an important research resource to study how these diseases develop.
Here at UNC, in the human pluripotent stem cell core facility, we are equipped to derive patient-specific stem cells by lentiviral transduction of various tissue-type fibroblasts. Because viral integration might impede the use of iPS cells for the translational research, we will soon be able to derive integration-free iPS cells.
Although the translational research will be emphasized, basic research is equally important in understanding various aspects of the early human development. Therefore, we have available to investigators federally approved human embryonic stem (hES) cell lines that we can expand using the latest protocols in the field.