The Use Of Embryonic Stem Cell Markers In Human Disease Research

Thu, 03/25/2010 - 12:26

We at Novus Biologicals are constantly creating new stem cell lines for a variety of bioassays – they are an essential part of our antibody catalog. Although stem cells are derived from many types of tissue, both adult and human, there is much controversy over their use.

The embryonic stem cells we supply are derived from animal, not human embryos. They are fertilized in vitro, and harvested as blastocysts, which are a hollow balls of cells that are a few days old. From these, we remove the blastocoels – the embryonic component. This is cultured in the lab.

Embryonic stem cell culture is quite inefficient, and so subculturing techniques are used. Once a cell line has become established, millions of ESCs can be yielded, often for years. This provides continuity and traceability. Once ESCs have been cultured for six months without differentiation, they are termed pluripotent and have formed an embryonic stem cell line.

Stem cells are invaluable to cellular research, because they have the ability to grow indefinitely, and differentiate into many different cell types. Stem cells circulate throughout the body, but often in tiny amounts. To identify them, stem cell markers are used. Stem cell markers are receptors specific to stem cells. Once they are identified, antibodies can be created that tag on to them. Alkaline phosphatase is a common stem cell marker, Alkaline phosphatase antibody is used for its identification. Widely used as a marker in cancer cells, it is just one of many SCMs we at Novus Biologicals have in our antibody catalog.



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