US Patent Granted to KFSH&RC for the Development of a New Method to Generate Mammary Stem Cells




The US Patent and Trademark Office has recently granted a patent to the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre for the development of an efficient method for the generation of stem cells from breast luminal cells specialized in milk production.

The invention resulted from years of research conducted by a scientific team under the direction of Dr. Abdelilah Aboussekhra, Chairman, Department of Molecular Oncology at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, Dr. Huda Al-Khalaf a Research Scientist at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, and Associate Professor at the National Center for Stem Cell Technology at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, as well as Dr. Hazem Ghebeh, Research Scientist at the Stem Cell and Tissue Re-Engineering Program at King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre, Riyadh.

The discovery is an unprecedented research finding in the field of cellular plasticity. The team has shown for the first time the possibility of transforming terminally differentiated mammary epithelial cells into Multipotent Stem Cells. These findings have shown the ability of an interleukin to stimulate this dedifferentiation, which can produce autologous non-specialized cells that can be used in cellular therapy by implanting stem cells.

The research team emphasized that the technique enables the generation of a large amount of autologous stem cells that could be used in breast plastic surgery, which would increase the chances of success of the process and generates a homogeneous and active mammary gland. These cells can also be used to compensate for resected or damaged breast tissues. Moreover, these in vitro produced stem cells will facilitate the study of the cellular and molecular properties, the identification of environmental and genetic pro-carcinogenic changes, as well as the development and characterization of new drugs.