NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — An international initiative led in part by South Korea is being formed to investigate proteins in embryonic and adult stem cells, according to the Human Proteome Organization, a sponsor of the project.
The Proteome Biology of Stem Cells Initiative will study proteins that are involved in creating, maintaining, and differentiating human stem cells. The goal of the project is to to develop standards for stem cells that may be used in drug development.
According to HUPO, the government of South Korea has already committed $138 million in funding to the project to be spread over 10 years.
Two phases of the initiative are currently planned, according to HUPO. The first phase, to be conducted over the first year of the program, will seek to find aspects of stem cell science that are most in need of proteomics research; seek out new funding sources; promote new collaborations; and consider creating a HUPO-sponsored journal for publishing publish stem cell proteomics results, among other objectives.
During the second phase the focus will be on generating, analyzing, and interpreting data, and creating guidelines and making data publicly available.
"There is considerable research being conducted by multinational pharmaceutical companies in stem cell and protein research, but since they do not share their know-how, individual institutes and schools have decided to form a partnership," Lee Bong-Hee, a researcher at Gachon University of Medicine and Science and project co-chair, told the South Korean news agency Yonhap.
Lee also told Yonhap that a lack of established standards regarding stem cells could lead to complications in research and in production.
The project is co-sponsored by the International Society for Stem Cell Research, and will include contributions from university researchers from around the world.
Albert Heck of HUPO and Paul Simmons of the ISSCR are chairing the initiative.
Much of the research will be conducted by Lee and Kim Dong-Wook of Yonsei University, who is also a co-chair of the project.