On Tuesday researchers at Kings College in London announced their submission of the first clinical-grade stem cells not derived from animal products to the UK Stem Cell Bank. The college has already submitted more than 20 "research-grade" cell-lines to the UKSCB but all of them have been derived from animal products including "porcine enzymes, bovine serum, or mouse feeder layers". Researchers say that the newly-submitted lines have the potential to become "gold standard" lines for developing new therapies and that they will be freely accessible to the research community while at the UKSCB for further study.
The cells used were grown from frozen embryos "donated by patients who had previously undergone IVF treatment and no longer wished to use their remaining stored embryos". They can now be grown indefinitely while still maintaining their capacity to develop into any specialized cell type. Further, these "xeno-free" lines that are free of animal products are deemed to be far safer than those produced with animal products and are deemed to be the future of regenerative medicine.
The team will publish their methodology and standards used to produce the lines after aditional testing at the UKSCB with the hope of establishing new standards across academia and medicine for future uses.