Brussels, Belgium -
Numerous tissue have been described to have endogenous, tissue resident, stem cells. For example, cardiac tissues express a population of lineage negative, side population cells that can regenerate myocardium. These cells and their uses are claimed in US patent 7,097,833. The side population phenotype has been useful for detect other types of tissue stem cells as well, for example epidermal stem cells and even cancer stem cells. In a recent paper (Lardon et al. Stem cell marker prominin-1/AC133 is expressed in duct cells of the adult human pancreas. Pancreas. 2008 Jan;36(1):e1-6) stem cells of the pancreas were assessed using expression of CD133, which is an epitope of prminin-1 that is dependent on glycosylation.
The scientists found that the pancreatic ductal cells, which are believed to have stem cell-like properties, express not only the CD133 epitope, but also full-length prominin-1 as detected by RNA message and reactivity towards the anti-prominin-1 polysera.
This finding suggests that other antibodies or markers generated from prominin-1 may be developed in order to isolate pancreatic ductal cells without needing to license the CD133 antibody.
There are already some patents issued on ways of isolating and growing pancreatic ductal cells. For example, US patent 6,946,293 teaches that the combination of EGF, a cAMP activating agent, and a steroid, may be useful in expanding such stem cell populations.