Culturing human embryonic stem cells (hESC) leads to the generation of various hESC-derived cells after in vitro differentiation. Such cells could be used in regenerative medicine to treat damaged tissues such as heart infarction that are non-renewable, blindness due to loss of photoreceptors or Type 1 diabetes due to absence of islet cells.
Prof Karl and his team has made it possible to culture human keratinocytes instead of using xenografts with human keratinocytes and mouse fibroblast feeder cells. Cardiomyocyte progenitors injected into the heart infarction of swines form human cardiomyocyte fiber bundles and exhibit improved heart function. Photoreceptors surrounding retina laminins have eventually led to improved heart function as well.
The team is also working on stem-derived cells for the treatment of heart muscle and muscular degeneration. Additionally, they are initiating a clinical trial for making keratinocytes for treatment of burn wounds.