Dr. zur Nieden leads a stem cell toxicology workshop in London
Dr. Nicole zur Nieden, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology & Neuroscience and member of UCR's Stem Cell Center, recently led a workshop on the 'Practical Considerations on Stem Cell Based Predictive Assays' in London, UK on February 18th. The workshop, which was organized by SMi and held in conjunction with the 'Stem Cells: Drug Discovery & Therapeutics' conference, covered regulatory aspects of stem cell based assays. Workshop participants were from in vitro fertilization clinics, regulatory agencies, and were also end users of stem cell assays.
The group discussed the fact that the differentiation capacity of stem cell can be utilized to evaluate toxicity and developmental toxicity. In the first scenario, stem cells will be differentiated into the mature cell type of interest and then a toxicity endpoint will be studied under influence of the test compound. In the latter case, the developmental potential of embryonic stem cells is exploited by differentiating the stem cells while they are exposed to the test compound and endpoints of differentiation are evaluated. The workshop participants actively spoke about how various kinds of stem cells are used in predictive toxicology and how stem cell assays compare to other in vitro toxicology/developmental toxicology assays. Challenges with standardization of embryonic stem cell expansion and differentiation were presented and experiences exchanged among the participants.