The CHA scientists introduce a new method which allows human embryonic stem cells to avoid immune system rejection.
The biggest obstacle in the embryonic stem cell transplantation treatment is that there are concerns over the existing cells' immunorejection against the transplanted embryonic stem cells. A CHA research team led by Professors Dong-ryul Lee and Myung-suh Kang has proposed a method to eliminate such problem in the recent study, receiving a huge attention from the academic circles.
Professors Dong-ryul Lee and Myung-suh Kang of CHA University (from left), world’s most influential names in stem cell research
Prof. Kang Myung-seo, at the interview on the subject of commercialization of stem cell medicine
Dr. Lee’s research team has discovered for the first time that 28 types of embryonic stem cells that were developed in Korea can be transplanted into up to 25 out of 100 Korean people without immune rejection. Dr. Lee added by saying, "We analyzed the immuno-compatibility and characteristics of 28 human embryonic stem cell lines established at CHA Hospital and of genes related to the blood types of cord blood donated by 6,740 people; we found that the cell lines can be transplanted into 16-25% of Koreans who need transplants."
The study by CHA University means that, theoretically, if 100 to 160 embryonic stem cell lines are secured, stem cells for cell therapy can be supplied to almost all Koreans. Furthermore, the study suggests the possibility that if further studies are conducted on differentiation technology and the stability of embryonic stem cells, stem cell therapy could ultimately be applied to a greater diversity of patients who need such therapy.
Embryonic stem cells have high utility because they are cultivated infinitely and can be formed into diverse cells. However, since it is not a cell sourced from the patient's body, it induces immune rejection if the blood type and Human leukocyte antigen(HLA) histocompatibility are not matched.
Prof. Lee's team used a method that assumed the characteristics of 6,740 cord blood samples saved in the public cord blood bank as the characteristics of blood types and HLA genes of Koreans, allowing researchers to examine the extent to which the 28 types of embryonic stem cell lines can be transplanted into Koreans. HLA genes each come in dozens of mutated forms, and hence it is very difficult to find a complete match for them, except from among one's own cells; however, transplantation can be done when four of the six HLA genes are compatible.