Stem cells made through pathenogenesis using unfertilized eggs may provide a treatment option for women able to donate their own eggs. Recently, research in the Stem Cell Program at Children's Hospital Boston showed that, through careful genetic typing, it may also be possible to use these parthenogenetic stem cells (pES cells) to treat patients beyond the donor.
Working with mice, the investigators created pES cells, genetically typed them, and injected them into other mice selecting cells that matched each recipient mouse for a group of genes involved in the immune system, called the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes. The MHC-matched cells formed a variety of tissues, with no immune rejection.
Children’s researchers envision setting up master banks of pES cell lines, each carrying a different combination of MHC genes. Doctors could find the right line that matches their patient’s MHC type and use it to develop customized, cell-based treatments.