Worcester Polytechnic Institute Team Awarded Patent for Reprogramming Skin Cells
May 25, 2016
(Eurekalert) – The novel method, developed by WPI faculty members Raymond Page, PhD, professor of practice in biomedical engineering, and Tanja Dominko, PhD, DVM, associate professor of biology and biotechnology, is described in U.S. Patent number 9,290,740, titled “Use of basic fibroblast growth factor in the de-differentiation of animal connective tissue cells,” which was issued on March 22, 2016. The technology enables adult human connective tissue fibroblasts (cells from skin or other tissues), which were previously thought to have a very limited lifespan outside of the body, to be cultured and replicated for long periods. It further causes those cells to express genes and proteins typically associated with stem cells, thereby demonstrating that the cells are in a less differentiated state. Notably, this technology works without inserting viruses or foreign genes into the cells.