Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine has created considerable interest in the clinical application of stem cells to both regenerate body tissues and to deliver genetic material. As an example, production of a specific gene-transduced oral mucosal graft that for reconstruction of major oral defects would be an asset to reconstructive surgery and/or gene therapy. Primary human keratinocytes fulfill most requirements for use in these treatment modalities, as they can grow to generate cohesive sheets of epithelium for grafting onto patients. In this regard, the ability to isolate an epidermal stem cell for use in fabrication of autologous grafts would result in a more robust engineered construct capable of a higher level of gene expression in a significant percentage of cells, thus creating a more predictable graft success and functionality for long term use as a vehicle for gene delivery; however, scientific and ethical challenges have impeded this technology from moving into the clinical arena.
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed compositions, methods, and systems for preparation of stem-cell enriched cell populations from sources of biological materials by sorting cell types according to size. Among other possible uses, such cells may be used in the fabrication of an ex vivo produced oral mucosa equivalent (“EVPOME”) and as a target for insertion of genetic material for use in transmucosal gene therapy. A subset of these cells, the smallest in size, possessed the phenotypic markers, characteristic cell cycle profile, and self-renewal potential that identify them as a progenitor/stem cell, and was able to successfully regenerate EVPOME.
Applications and Advantages
- Ex vivo produced oral mucosa equivalent-nl-for intraoral reconstructio
- Preparation of stem-cell enriched-nl-cell populations
- Defined culture system, without xenogenic-nl-feeder cells
- Physical isolation