Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Isolation of Stem Cells

Technology #2939

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Stephen E. Feinberg
Managed By
Kristen Wolff
Senior Licensing Specialist, Medical Devices 734-647-5604
Patent Protection
US Patent Pending


Cancer of the oral cavity accounts for approximately 30% of cancers of head and the neck region. When the cancer is treated with surgical intervention, reconstruction of the oral cavity is often required to maintain function and appearance. In these cases, mucosal grafts are used to help with wound closure. One of the clinical limitations for this procedure is the shortage of oral mucosa. As a consequence, split-thickness skin grafts are frequently used but have disadvantages including the presence of adnexal structures and different pattern or keratinization. To circumvent this difference in graft material, oral mucosa equivalents have been researched. However, most of the equivalents to date are easily degraded and are not suited for clinical use.


Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed techniques to isolate and characterize oral mucosal stem cells that can be incorporated into ex vivo produced oral mucosa equivalent (EVPOME). Oral mucosal keratinocytes were cultured and those that were positive for beta1 integrin were sorted by size. The resultant populations as separated by size differed in their state of differentiation, based on expression of a differentiation marker and efficiency in colony formation. Therefore, population of oral keratinocytes rich in stem cells can be sorted based on size, providing a simple and effective approach for enriching the stem cell population.

Applications and Advantages

Applications - Isolation of oral mucosal stem cells - Delivery mechanism for transmucosal-nl-gene therapy using EVPOME


  • Simple and effective method using-nl-currently available cell sorting techniques