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Reversible Immortalization Method for the Generation of Homogenous Stable Authentic Human Cell Lines


Researchers at Leiden University Medical Center have developed a broadly applicable method for generating lines or differentiation-competent mammalian (including human) cells. One way to obtain large numbers of differentiated cells from small tissue samples (ie biopsies) is by permanently immortalizing the cells directly after isolation followed by their expansion in a differentiated state and their redifferentiation using specific medium formulations. This, however, rarely yields cells in an advanced state of differentiation (ie authentic cells) due to the continued presence of proliferation stimuli. This method allows massive expansion and subsequent redifferentiation of a cell type or choice through gene transfer and a single-component changes in culture medium composition (Figure 1).

Technology Overview

This invention concerns the discovery of a new immortalization technique that overcomes many of the shortcomings of the existing immortalization strategies and allows the reproducible generation of large numbers of differentiated cells with properties very similar to those of the cells from which they have been derived (see eg Liu et al. Cardiovasc Res 2018; 114: 1848). These differentiated cells may provide an excellent alternative to cell-based systems relying on differentiation or, for instance, pluripotent (human) stem cells


  • Drug testing
  • Therapeutic target identification and validation
  • Production of biopharmaceuticals
  • Regenerative medicine applications
  • Fundamental research

Key benefits

  • Enables generation of large, homogenous populations or differentiated cells in a cost-effective, reproducible and precisely timed manner.
  • Easy control of cell proliferation and differentiation.
  • Allows repetitive toggling between proliferative and differentiated cell states.
  • Applicable to all kind of or mammalian cells.
  • Can be used to derive tissue, patient and disease-specific cell platforms.

Luris reference number


Patent status

Patent application submitted.