What are Pluripotent Stem Cells?
Like all animals, humans begin life as a single cell—a fertilized egg cell called a zygote. This cell divides into two cells, and these two divide into four, and so on, and so on until there are more than a trillion cells. Each type of cell has a different function—blood cells are different from skin cells, etc. So that very first cell, the one that started it all, had the potential to become any type of cell in the human body. In other words, it’s pluripotent.
The potential value of being able to create different types of cells has been tantalizing researchers for years. Theoretically, using pluripotent cells, a person with a failing organ should be able to simply grow a new one.
But there was always one enormous challenge with doing stem cell research, finding the stem cells. The most abundant source, embryos, is a point of ethical debate. Other sources such as umbilical cord blood and adult tissues, proved scarce and difficult. Factors such as these greatly limited the ability of the scientific community to research the full potential of pluripotent cells.
The New Frontier: Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS Cells)
Fortunately, the situation changed dramatically just over ten years ago. In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka was able to turn adult mouse cells into pluripotent cells. He called these cells induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) and then did the same thing with human cells one year later. This incredible breakthrough meant that it would no longer be necessary to collect stem cells from embryos or try to find them in the human body. We could make iPS cells instead.
Partnering with Ajinomoto Co. to design the most effective culture mediums under StemFit brand
For iPS cells to turn into other types of cells, they need to multiply. And to multiply, they need to be in the right environment, just like a seed needs soil to grow. The right environment for cultivating cells is called a culture medium, which is a cocktail of amino acids, vitamins, glucose, lipids, growth factors, and small amounts of minerals essential to help cells thrive.
In 2010, two years before being awarded the Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking work, Dr. Shinya Yamanaka started an organization called CiRA, the Center for iPS Cell Research and Application, with a mission of using iPS cells for new medical therapies. And, as a world leader in amino acid research and production, Ajinomoto Co. was a natural choice for a collaborative project to develop an ideal culture medium for CiRA’s iPS cell research. In fact, Ajinomoto Co. had already been using its amino acid expertise to develop pharmaceuticals for more than 60 years.
The StemFit Value Proposition
Unmatched Performance, Safety, and Quality
The first PMDA (Japan’s FDA) approved stem cell medium
StemFit is the gold standard in Japan and was a pioneering product in gaining approval for use in clinical trials.
Product line includes fully Chemically Defined and Animal Origin Free (CD-AOF), as well as GMP offerings
GMP and CD-AOF mediums offer the highest level of safety and consistency for our customers at all stages of research and development.
Exceptional expansion rates with stable karyotypes and high pluripotency markers
Industry-leading cell replication efficiency while supporting single-cell passage, CRISPR, and “weekend-free” feeding; all in one package.
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