I was doing an initial search on google but couldn't come up with anything I'm looking for. I know were stem cells come from and a bit about their levels of differentiation. For example, embryonic stem still becoming mesenchymal stem cells and what not. I also understand that epithelial tissue cells can be converted to a pluripotent stem cell state but at very low efficiency. So, all that aside how are stem cells obtained in the volumes necessary for stem cell based therapies without causing them to start differentiating during production?

  • $\begingroup$ Can you give a reference to a particular therapy you're interested in? Different treatments use different protocols. $\endgroup$
    – MattDMo
    Mar 22, 2015 at 22:27
  • $\begingroup$ I've heard of therapies, than in my opinion sound silly, were cancer patients are given a dose of stem cells intravenously. I would assume these would be made from an embryonic stem cell lines. If I'm correct, how are these lines maintained and generated? Is there a specific culture medium that can maintain the pluripotent state while still undergoing continuous growth? $\endgroup$
    – vajra78
    Mar 23, 2015 at 3:16
  • $\begingroup$ Basically you culture them in a medium that inhibits cell differentiation. ES cells derived from Blastocysts are immortal (like cancer cells) as they express telomerase. Give the correct signaling molecules in the medium, they will continue to divide in an undifferentiated state, for all intents and purposes, indefinitely. $\endgroup$
    – AMR
    Oct 15, 2015 at 3:30

1 Answer 1


I didn't get your question exactly. If you wanna ask how to maintain the potential of stem cells, yes, there are several compound that could keep stem cells, such as Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (LIF). As far I know, the using of pluripotent stem cell, such as ES, iPS, still has the problem of formatting teratoma in vivo studying. It means totally differentiating pluripotent stem cell still need to be work out.

  • $\begingroup$ If you could explain what LIF is, then I think you have answered this question. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Oct 15, 2015 at 2:15
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    $\begingroup$ @AliceD LIF - Leukemia Inhibitory Factor. It is added to ES Medium to keep them from differentiating. $\endgroup$
    – AMR
    Oct 15, 2015 at 3:21
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    $\begingroup$ With LIF alone you also need to use feeders. Labs are starting to switch to 2i so that you only need to plate the ES cells. It makes DNA and RNA analysis much easier, because you do not need to try and remove feeders after the fact so you do not have the fibroblasts confounding your data. $\endgroup$
    – AMR
    Oct 15, 2015 at 3:24
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    $\begingroup$ @AMR - thanks for the explanation, and thanks for that edit too. +1 $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Oct 15, 2015 at 3:27
  • $\begingroup$ But I think there should be other compounds other than LIF. As far I know, some lab prefer culture human iPS cell without MEF (feeder layer), LIF and even serum. If you have an interest, there are lots well-known protocol in internet and papers. And also, lots of commercial mediums for raising stem cells, such as goo.gl/ImF1I8 .Following these compounds in mediums, you will know what can keep stem cell's potential. $\endgroup$
    – Roger L.
    Oct 16, 2015 at 16:03

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