Navara CS, Hornecker J, Grow D, Chaudhari S, Hornsby PJ, Ichida JK, Eggan K, McCarrey JR. 2013. Derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells from the baboon: a nonhuman primate model for preclinical testing of stem cell therapies. Cellular reprogramming. 15(6):495-502. Pubmed: 24182315 DOI:10.1089/cell.2012.0093


Development of effective pluripotent stem cell-based therapies will require safety and efficacy testing in a clinically relevant preclinical model such as nonhuman primates (NHPs). Baboons and macaques are equally similar to humans genetically and both have been extensively used for biomedical research. Macaques are preferred for human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) research whereas baboons are preferred for transplantation studies because of the greater similarity of their anatomy and immunogenetic system to those of humans. We generated four induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from skin cells of the olive baboon (Papio anubis). Each line shows the distinct morphology of primate pluripotent stem cells, including flat colonies with well-defined borders and a high nuclear/cytoplasm ratio. Each is positive for the pluripotency markers OCT4, SOX2, NANOG, and SSEA4. Pluripotency was confirmed in two lines by teratoma formation with representative tissues from each germ layer, whereas a third produced cells from all three germ layers following embryoid body differentiation. Three lines have a normal male karyotype and the fourth is missing the short arm of one copy of chromosome 18. This may serve as an in vitro model for the human developmental disorder 18p-, which impacts 1 in 50,000 births/year. These iPSC lines represent the first step toward establishing the baboon as a NHP model for developing stem cell-based therapies.

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Kevin Eggan investigates the mechanisms that cause motor neuron degeneration in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and seeks to translate new discoveries into new therapeutic options for patients.

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