Adult stem cells offer great potential as tools or targets of new treatments, and the Stem Cell Network launched a multidisciplinary project early in its mandate in order to discover more about the nature of these mysterious cells.
The Stem Cell Network’s Adult Stem Cell Plasticity Project—one of its first major initiatives—brought together a “Dream Team” of 26 outstanding researchers from 11 different Canadian institutions to isolate and characterize novel adult stem cell populations with therapeutic potential. The project focused largely on skin-derived precursor (SKP) cells, retinal stem cells, myocardial stem cells, mammary gland epithelial cells and pancreatic precursor cells, leveraging the expertise of the Canadian researchers who initially identified these little-known cell populations and bringing them together to share information and techniques that bear relevance between the different cell types.
The identification and characterization of these cell types represented a significant advance in the understanding of adult stem cells. Researchers in Canada and across the globe have used these findings to further our knowledge on the role of these adult stem cell populations in the tissue regeneration and repair process, and how these processes can be leveraged to develop novel disease therapies. The research funded through the Adult Stem Cell Plasticity Project also inspired follow-up projects funded by SCN as well as other organizations that further developed our knowledge of the potential and limitations of adult stem cell populations.
- 2003-04 Annual Report
- 2006-07 Annual Report, p. 11