Human embryos can be thawed, grown in the laboratory, and successfully induced to produce human embryonic stem (ES) cells, even after being frozen for 18 years. This represents a valuable resource for drug screening and medical research. Prolonged embryonic cryopreservation as an alternative source of ES cells is the focus of an article in BioResearch Open Access, a new bimonthly peer-reviewed open access journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The article is available free online at the BioResearch Open Access.
Kamthorn Pruksananonda and coauthors from Chulalongkorn University and Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand, demonstrated that ES cells derived from frozen embryos have a similar ability to differentiate into multiple cell types—a characteristic known as pluripotency—as do ES cells derived from fresh embryos. They present their findings in the article "Eighteen-Year Cryopreservation Does Not Negatively Affect the Pluripotency of Human Embryos: Evidence from Embryonic Stem Cell Derivation."
"The importance of this study is that it identifies an alternative source for generating new embryonic stem lines, using embryos that have been in long-term storage," says Editor-in-Chief Jane Taylor, PhD, MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.