Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) were conventionally cultured on feeder cells that are isolated from mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF). However, these culture components could contaminate the hPSCs and can limit the application of hPSCs for clinical use. On the other hand, we demonstrated that exogenous basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) could be omitted from the hPSC culture media if we used the suitable feeder cells. We also showed that although hPSCs can proliferate on the feeder-free culture system, however, genetic instability of hPSCs has been reported in such environment. Feeder cells enable hPSCs to maintain their pluripotency. The feeder cells are usually grown in a culture medium containing fetal bovine serum (FBS) prior to coculture with hPSCs. The use of FBS might limit the clinical application of hPSCs. We proposed the use of human cord blood-derived serum (hUCS) and showed a positive effect on culture of mesenchymal stem cells. The results showed that human foreskin fibroblasts (HFFs) cultured in hUCS-containing medium (HFF-hUCS) displayed fibroblastic features, short population doubling times, high proliferation rates, and normal karyotypes after prolonged culture. These studies of hPSC xeno-free culture have been growing in both basic research and clinical trial. The data regarding the current clinical trials of using hPSCs convince the researchers not only about the possibility of application of hPSCs for cell-based therapy, but also the quality of established hPSC lines. Most of the hPSC lines that were published in the literature and registered in the National Institute of Health (NIH), hPSCreg of the European Union are not Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) grade cell lines. Since one of the goals of using hPSCs is therapeutic purpose, GMP for derivation, cultivation, and handling the hPSCs are required. This chapter also reviews the state-of-the-art xeno-free culture system of hPSCs in the respect of future clinical applications.
Part of the book: Pluripotent Stem Cells