Building the Building Blocks of Life

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I'm Mary Parker and welcome to this episode of Eureka Sounds of science from mouse models in one, thousand, nine, hundred, one to cloning Dolly the sheep to a couple of Nobel prizes. Stem cells have had an exciting half-century. But rearranging the building blocks of life is not easy and more importantly for patients not fast. However, newcomers on the market are ready to change the stem cell programming for the quicker. Joining me today are Mariangela, I o Vino Group leader integrated biology at Charles River Saffron Walden site and Mark Qatar. The founder of the cellular reprogramming startup bit bio. The are here to discuss the innovative technology created by mark and his associates and how it can be exploited by end users like Mariangela welcome Mariangela. Thank you welcome to Beautiful Safran. World. Nice, weather? Yeah. Not Bad. So can we start at the beginning? What are stem cells briefly? So stemmed has really the origin of any complex organism. Their form pretty much after an expert. And role is ready to reproduce all the cells. In the body of a human or or an animal. And the cool thing though is that Yamanaka in two thousand seven showed that one doesn't have to fertilized egg to produce stem cells. You can also produce them synthetically using salary programming, and that really has opened up the use of stem cells for drug discovery and can locations. Cool. All right. What practical uses do stem cells have for drug developers? I think that the DAW to using human cells in drug development this is really important because there's a huge translation gap at the moment between. The animal models and cell lines that are traditionally used right and. The high failure rates that you see in clinical trials. Yeah. Totally the boiled on to two things I drugs because they're toxic to human or because they don't work the human setting and so at the center of all this differences between the species used for drug development at us as the end uses. So you're saying is that the stem cells can be made from human cells and that way they're tested on human cells instead of a different species. That's exactly right. Okay. That makes sense. So how were stem cells traditionally used to create sells like brain cells? So the traditional paradigm was to try and repeat what happens during development when embryo grows in Utah and so researchers for the last twenty years or so tried to. Create protocols that expose cells to extra Selah cues, molecules that exist in the growing embryo and instruct them direct them towards particular cell fates. One of the problems that you have if you repeat this paradigm, of course, you're bought into the timelines of of Embryo Genesis, which basically means it often takes sixteen hundred days plus to generate human sale. and. The other problem that you have when you adopt this, this method is that you have to overcome the diversity that nature requires to create cells. So the worst thing that can happen during development is if a lineage, an organ or a cell type isn't produced raced. And Soak Nature seems to. Prevent. This using. CASSIE principles. So these cells make cell fate choices all along the way. If you think about a protocol that takes sixty one, hundred days with multiple steps were cells make these choices than you end up with inconsistencies. So inconsistency and longtime nine's really the biggest bottleneck introduced new Simpson about. So it's basically I, mean if we're trying to imitate nature nature is trying to make all of the organs we may be only want brain. So using nature's methods is a little bit tricky. So I would say if you wanted to produce a particular cell type, it's very tricky. In terms of producing elements of an organ. It's probably slightly less tricky although you still have the inconsistency question right and then this new paradigm called cell reprogramming. Which is essentially. An expansion or reverse engineering of Yamanaka reprogramming. Provides an alternative route so you can now very efficiently in very quickly. Produce. Human cells using. Synthetic biology paradigm

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