The clinical use of stem cells in cell-based therapeutics for degenerative diseases requires development of criteria for defining normal stem cells to ensure safe transplantation. Currently, identification of abnormal from normal stem cells is based on extensive ex vivo and in vivo testing. Raman microscopy is a label-free method for rapid and sensitive detection of changes in cells' bio-molecular composition. Here, we report that by using Raman spectroscopy, we were able to map the distribution of different biomolecules within 2 types of stem cells: adult human bone marrow-derived stromal stem cells and human embryonic stem cells and to identify reproducible differences in Raman's spectral characteristics that distinguished genetically abnormal and transformed stem cells from their normal counterparts. Raman microscopy can be prospectively employed as a method for identifying abnormal stem cells in ex vivo cultures prior to clinical transplantation.
Stem Cells and Development, 2012, Vol 21, Issue 12, p. 2152-9