Scientists create human prostate from embryonic cells

March 16, 2006

In a step toward understanding prostate disease, Australian researchers have used human embryonic stem cells to develop human prostate tissue, equivalent to that found in a young man.

In a step toward understanding prostate disease, Australian researchers have used human embryonic stem cells to develop human prostate tissue, equivalent to that found in a young man. The discovery may allow scientists to monitor the progression of the prostate from a normal to a diseased state for the first time.

“We need to study healthy prostate tissue from 15- to 25-year-old men to track this process,” said Renea Taylor, PhD, of the Monash Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne. “Understandably, there is a lack of access to samples from men in this age group, so to have found a way we can have an ongoing supply of prostate tissue is a significant milestone.”

Gail Risbridger, director of Monash Institute of Medical Research’s Centre for Urological Research, said the discovery will have a significant impact on prostate cancer and BPH research.

“If we can understand how to make normal prostate, we can work out how BPH develops as part of the normal aging process,” she said. “We will also have the opportunity to study the transition of healthy prostate tissue to cancer.”

The team’s work was published in Naure Methods (2006; 3:179-81).