The aim of this research project is to reprogramme human stem cells into hepatocytes in a robust and scalable manner for clinical and industrial applications. Hepatocytes are the parenchymal cells that make up the majority of the liver. The shortage of hepatocytes and difficulty in maintaining primary hepatocytes will remain key obstacles that must be overcome by researchers before hepatocyte transplantation can be used in clinical trials.
Stem cells possess the unique ability to differentiate into any cell type in our body. In addition, they possess the ability to self-renew, meaning, they can act as a renewable source of hepatocytes. Thus, the goal is to differentiate human embryonic stem cells (hES) to hepatocyes using cytokines and growth factors (GFs). Cytokines and growth factors were used in the past to mimic embryonic liver development, thus, the goal of this project is to advance a step further and to mimic adult liver development. The difficulty in this system is to translate adherent stem cell culture to a suspension culture that better suits their optimal culture environment. In this project, the focus will primarily be on the differentiation of human stem cells to hepatocytes. After rigorous cell culturing and data collection, it has been found that on day 10 of differentiation, the cells were well under their way of developing as hepatocytes, however they did not show target results for each gene expression tested for.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Reprogramming of Human Stem Cells to Hepatocytes for Clinical and Industrial Applications.
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