Centre for Translational
Stem Cell Biology

The University of Hong Kong

Director
Professor Pengtao LIU
 
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“In the near future, we will develop novel stem cell technologies, intellectual properties, and products which will have broad applications in regenerative medicine, organ transplantation and genomic medicine. Our research outcomes will provide enormous economic and commercial benefits and contribute to transforming Hong Kong into a global innovative hub.”

 

BREAKTHROUGHS

IN STEM CELL RESEARCH

 

Stem cells hold great promise for regenerative medicine and therapeutics. HKUMed recently opened a new pathway in the stem cell field through the development of expanded potential stem cell (EPSC) technologies. These new stem cells generate not only all types of cells in an individual but also the “extra-embryonic” cells (for the placenta and yolk sac) that support foetus development in pregnancy. The EPSC technologies offer rich potential for research and HKUMed will capitalise on this seminal discovery through the establishment of Centre for Translational Stem Cell Biology (CTSCB), aiming to develop world-leading stem cell technologies and to apply them to regenerative medicine, organ transplantation, and genomic medicine.

 

The CTSCB is led by Professor Pengtao Liu, who first successfully established EPSCs from mice in 2017 and subsequently extended this technology to humans, pigs and other animals. Conventional embryonic stem cells origin from the blastocyst with one hundred cells. In contrast, EPSCs are established from much earlier pre-implantation embryos of as few as four cells and are thus more primitive and have higher potential. Moreover, EPSCs are genetically stable, and permit efficient and convenient genome-editing. These properties and molecular features of EPSCs open up new opportunities for translational researches in medicine, biotechnology and agriculture.

 

Professor Liu and scientists from HKUMed will work closely with top scientists of a world-renowned research institute in the United Kingdom on the following research programmes. In the first programme, they will gain deeper knowledge about EPSCs, and develop the next generation stem cell technology. They will also use human EPSCs as a cell factory for generating multiple cell types including blood cells (immune cells), liver cells and lung cells. These cells will be used in the second programme to study liver and heart disease, to develop in vitro and in vivo assays for drug testing, cell-based therapies and organ transplantation, in collaboration with scientists in Mainland China, Europe and the UK. In the third programme, scientists will derive EPSCs from patients to study immune disorders and to develop personalised “assays” for testing their immune response to stimulation and for assessing drug candidates for these diseases.

 

“In the near future, we will develop novel stem cell technologies, intellectual properties, and products which will have broad applications in regenerative medicine, organ transplantation and genomic medicine. Our research outcomes will provide enormous economic and commercial benefits and contribute to transforming Hong Kong into a global innovative hub,” Professor Liu said.

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Centre for Translational Stem Cell Biology

​幹細胞轉化研究中心


Unit 1105, 11/F, 17W Science Park West Avenue, Hong Kong Science Park, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong

Website: https://hkstemcell.hk

Tel: +852 3910 3650

Enquiry: info@hkstemcell.hk