Research Group

  • Dr. Bert Binas, Principal Investigator
  • Prof. Fred Faendrich, Collaborator
  • Prof. Oliver Smithies, Collaborator
  • Dr. Thomas Coffman, Collaborator


  • Texas A & M University, College Station, USA


  • Mouse Blastocyst Stem Cell Immune Resistance

In addition to the well-publicized “embryonic stem cells”, pre-implantation-stage embryos also contain stem cells that give rise to placental structures. From early rat embryos, we have recently isolated stem cells of unknown identity that are unlikely to be embryonic stem cells and might be placental. These rat cells show the unusual ability to avoid destruction by the immune system of immunologically different rats, which is reminiscent of the ability of the embryo to avoid immune rejection by the mother. We term this property “stem cell immune resistance”. Moreover, when rat stem cells from strain A were injected into strain B, and then hearts were transplanted from strain A to strain B, the hearts were no longer rejected. No medication was needed. Thus, these stem cells may confer tolerance of normally incompatible organ transplants. Mouse pre-implantation stem cells are much better known than stem cells from rats or any other species, but it is unknown whether they are immune resistant. Here, we want to assess how widespread the phenomenon of immune resistance is among extraembryonic and embryonic mouse stem cells, and at the same time determine the identity of our rat stem cells. Knowing the cellular scope of the new phenomenon of immune resistance will allow its systematic exploration and practical use in organ transplantation and tissue repair.