Embryonic Stem Cells No Longer The Only Option In Antibody Research

Wed, 12/23/2009 - 10:00

Human stem cell research has proved a controversial topic, but the latest developments could alter the debate significantly.

Among the products in our antibody database at Novus Biologicals, we have a range of stem cell marker immunoglobulins. PODXL antibodies, also known as TRA-1-60 and TRA-1-81, which fall under this category of stem cells, are widely used in cancer research. PODXL is known to be involved in the development of several aggressive cancers, among them pancreatic, breast and prostate cancer. It was first identified on the cell surfaces of epithelial cell lines.

PODXL antibodies, such as our TRA-1-81 and TRA-1-60 antibodies, are specific to human cell lines, with no immunoreactivity to murine cells being seen. Typically, this means using human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) – an area of some controversy. In January 2010, however, the University of Amsterdam published some findings suggesting an alternative source – that of human adult testes cells. These were derived from castrated adult patients undergoing prostate cancer treatment.

It had already been proven that adult murine (mouse) testicular cultures produced embryonic-type cell lines. However, these were not suitable for human-specific antibody preparations. When interest switched to tissue submitted by human donors, the results were conclusive. Several hESCs derived proteins and carbohydrate antigens were located – among them TRA-1-60 and TRA-1-81. We at Novus Biologicals have human-specific PODXL antibodies to both these antigens.

Our PODXL TRA-1-60/81 stem cell marker antibodies are widely used in cancer research. Each is specific to a particular epitope on the PODXL protein. These epitopes are involved in cell formation and differentiation, and are found on the surface of both embryonic stem cells and adult tumor cells.

The recent discovery that embryonic stem cells can be harvested from adult tissue donors has exciting implications.

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