Nanotechnology developed at Rutgers University–New Brunswick could boost research on stem cell transplantation, which may help people with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, other neurodegenerative diseases and central nervous system injuries.
According to Rutgers, the nanotechnology platform, which uses special tiny rods for sensing, allows researchers to confirm the identity of human stem cell fates and their biomarkers, or biological molecules, without destroying them, according to a study in the journal ACS Nano. That’s been a major issue during pre-clinical research on stem cells because it limits further analyses and biomedical applications.
“One of the major hurdles in the current cell-based therapies is the destructive nature of the standard cell characterization step. With our technology, we can sensitively and accurately characterize the cells without compromising their viabilities,” said senior author KiBum Lee, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences.
Stem cells can develop into many different types of cells, including neurons that transmit information in the brain. Adult human-induced pluripotent stem cells, which resemble embryonic stem cells, can be used to develop drugs and model diseases, according to the National Institutes of Health. Scientists hope to use them in transplantation medicine.