FORT COLLINS, Colo. – January 6, 2014 – InVitria, a division of Ventria Bioscience, today announced publication of new research demonstrating that InVitria’s animal-component–free recombinant human leukemia inhibitory factor (rhLIF) is comparable to traditional sources of recombinant LIF for the maintenance of pluripotent mouse embryonic stem cells (ESC) in culture.
Because ESCs have the potential to differentiate into cells of any type, they have been the focus of intense interest as possible new treatments for incurable diseases. However, maintenance of mouse or human ESCs in culture requires highly specialized bioreagents, including the human cytokine LIF, that are expensive to produce and that represent an economic barrier to commercial-scale development of ESC-based therapies. InVitria’s parent company, Ventria Bioscience, has developed a highly efficient method for producing rhLIF in a plant-based expression system, ExpressTec. The end product is a highly pure rhLIF that is free of animal components and suitable for use with human and mouse ESCs, induced pluripotent stem cells, and human neural stem cells.
In the present study, the authors evaluated the potency and activity of rhLIF produced using the ExpressTec system in mouse ESC culture. They confirmed that this form of rhLIF was capable of supporting the growth and proliferation of cultured mouse ESCs in an undifferentiated state and that its potency and specific activity were indistinguishable from other commercially available recombinant LIF. Further, rhLIF from InVitria contained lower levels of endotoxin contamination than other sources.
“It is estimated that up to 90 percent of the cost of maintaining stem cell cultures can be attributed to the cost of LIF, and that makes cost-effective commercial scale-up very challenging,” said Randall Alfano, Ph.D., cell culture scientist at InVitria and one of the authors of the publication. “This paper formally establishes that recombinant human LIF produced by the ExpressTec system has the same activity as LIF produced in Escherichia coli or other sources, making it a significantly more cost-effective option for both exploratory experimentation and production-scale stem cell cultures.”
The publication resulted from a collaboration between researchers in the Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and scientists from InVitria and Ventria Bioscience. It has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Biotechnology and the full text is now available online as an in-press manuscript prior to final publication in early 2014.