Rigorous science in regenerative medicine

When the field of neural cell transplantation was really taking off, thymidine analogs such as 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) became the standard and accepted tools for labeling and identifying grafted cells after transplantation. However, Dr. Burns and colleagues demonstrated that these labels may be released from cells that die after transplantation and may become incorporated into local dividing host cells, which could then masquerade as transplanted cells.

This revelation cast doubts upon a substantial body of prior literature claiming plasticity of adult somatic stem cells and helped pave the way toward more reproducible findings in the previously controversial field of adult stem cell plasticity. Maintaining the highest level of scientific rigor ensures that regenerative work at Mayo Clinic not only leads the field in discovery and innovation but also provides a solid foundation for the development of effective human therapies.

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