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Subject : Scientists work on Holy Grail of stem cell therapy   
Date 2011-01-27 Visit 5272

A team of Korean scientists has gained a U.S. patent for nano-based technology, which they say is necessary to discover the Holy Grail of stem cell therapies ?how to efficiently differentiate embryonic stem cell lines into specific cells.

The team, led by professor Park Se-pill at Jeju National University, said that their technology on nanoparticles had received a U.S. patent almost three years after an application was lodged.

A nanoparticle refers to a small object, which behaves as a whole unit in terms of its transport and properties. Park and his men used nanoparticles, the thickness of which is around one 500th that of a human hair.

밒n order to materialize the cell replacement therapy based on stem cells instead of organ transplants, the technology is indispensable in growing stem cell batches into specific cells that make up nerve or muscle tissue,?Park said.

밬p until now, researchers have worked on how to efficiently differentiate stem cells without causing serious side effects, to little avail. In comparison, nanoparticles seem to be a solution.?
To differentiate embryonic stem cells, a host of methodologies have been employed such as using inducers, trophic factors and viruses. But most of them developed serious side effects or failed to show satisfactory success rates.

To overcome the stalemate, Park뭩 team used nanoparticles to find out if they could induce stem cells to develop into specific cells. Their breakthrough was covered by the Stem Cells and Development journal in January 2008.

밫hrough embracing the patented technology, we will be able to get specific cells in a secure fashion. No other scientists in the world have attempted research based on nanoparticles,?Park said.

밒n this sense, I think that we have preempted side effect-free nanotechnology in the potential-laden segment. We will continue to further define the convergence of both bio and nano technologies,?Park said.

Park basked in the global spotlight in 2000 after extracting human stem cells for the third time in history. He is currently one of the leading embryologists in Korea after his compatriot Hwang Woo-suk was disgraced.

He is also trying to clone embryonic stem cells for the first time ever, the exploit that Hwang, a former professor at Seoul National University, claimed to have achieved in 2004, only to have it later disproved.



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