Posts Tagged ‘stem cells’

There is still hope for stem cell research

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 08-07-2011

Stem cell scientists, do not despair! Despite concerns over iPSC-derived teratomas and altered genomic and epigenomic states, researchers at UC Davis have written a roadmap for finding solutions to the problems identified with iPSCs which has been published last week in the journal Cell.

According to Paul S. Knoepfler, UC Davis associate professor of cell biology and human anatomy:

iPSCs offer the potential to treat many diseases as an alternative or adjuvant therapy to drugs or surgery. Problems that have been identified with their use likely can be overcome, allowing iPSCs to jump from the laboratory dish to patients who could benefit from them.

To read more click here.

A Scientific Legend’s Approach to Solving Problems and Developing Technologies

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-26-2011

George Church is one of the founders of the human genome project and continues to play an important role in the personal genome project, stem cell research and biofuel research. In this video, Dr. Sriram Kosuri, a Postdoctoral fellow in George’s lab at Harvard University discusses the Church lab’s approach to solving problems and developing technologies.

First mapping of methylation event in embryonic stem cells

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 07-25-2011

Stem cell researchers at UCLA have generated the first genome-wide mapping of a DNA modification called 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) in embryonic stem cells, and discovered that it is predominantly found in genes that are turned on, or active.

According to Steven E. Jacobsen, a professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology in the Life Sciences and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, 5hmC is formed from the DNA base cytosine by adding a methyl group and then a hydroxy group. The molecule is important in epigenetics because the newly formed hydroxymethyl group on the cytosine can potentially switch a gene on and off.

The molecule 5hmC was only recently discovered, and its function has not been clearly understood, Jacobsen said. Until now, researchers didn’t know where 5hmC was located within the genome.

For more read UCLA scientists complete first mapping of molecule found in human embryonic stem cells

Stem Cell Ruling a Victory for All

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 05-18-2011

The U.S. Federal Court of Appeals has overturned an August 2010 ban on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, paving the way for broader exploration of how stem cells function and how they can be harnessed to treat a wide range of currently incurable diseases.

Arnold Kriegstein

The ruling has been welcomed by the Obama Administration, which attempted to lift the ban in 2009, and by the nation’s top researchers in the field, including Arnold Kriegstein, MD, PhD, director of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCSF.

“This is a victory not only for the scientists, but for the patients who are waiting for treatments and cures for terrible diseases,” Kriegstein said. “This ruling allows critical research to move forward, enabling scientists to compare human embryonic stem cells to other forms of stem cells, such as the cell lines which are derived from skin cells, and to pursue potentially life-saving therapies based on that research.”

See UCSF website for more details.

Stem Cells In Space

 :: Posted by American Biotechnologist on 05-16-2011

Prof. Dan Gazit

The space shuttle Endeavor that will be launched into space Monday from the United States will not only mark the end of the era of NASA shuttle launches but also be the closing of a circle for Prof. Dan Gazit of the Skeletal Biotechnology Laboratory of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The shuttle will carry, among other things, an experiment in bone cells that was borne on the space shuttle that crashed in 2003 over Texas, carrying Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon and his colleagues to their deaths.

On the flight with Ramon (who was a good friend of Gazit) was a cell culture device, which contained adult stem cells. The experiment was part of the experimental work carried out by Prof. Gazit, which focused on the regeneration of skeletal tissue by converting adult stem cells into skeletal tissue through genetic engineering. The purpose of the space experiment was to investigate the influence of weightlessness on the function of the stem cells.

Since it is known that astronauts quickly lose bone mass while they are in space – in effect developing osteoporosis – the object of the project was to find those genes that are either active or suppressed in the cells that generate bone and therefore are responsible for the phenomenon, explained Prof. Gazit.

The experiment was to include a comprehensive analysis of thousands of genes within the cells that were in the space vehicle and their comparison to those which were grown in the Hebrew university laboratory. The results could have implications not only for the health of the astronauts but also for others suffering from osteoporosis and those confined to bed rest for extended periods.

After the loss of the cells due to the tragic accident, Prof. Gazit and his colleagues used an alternative technology to mimic weightlessness on earth. The group utilized a dynamic cell culture system that rotates around its axis, generating free-fall conditions for the cells growing inside it. The results of that work were published in the scientific journal Tissue Engineering. In that work, the researchers found that the weightlessness caused the stem cells to change into fat cells and prevented their being converted into bone cells. The results explain why lack of movement or weight can lead to loss of bone boss.

On the space flight that is scheduled to go out this week from the US, this experiment with weightlessness will be replicated by the Fisher Foundation, under actual space conditions, in order to evaluate the mechanism of bone loss in space.

Prof. Gazit’s group is currently working on the development of new treatments based on the use of adult stem cells for rehabilitation of the spine for osteoporosis patients. This method is based on getting the body’s own repair cells to reverse loss of bone mass and to repair the damage from which these patients are suffering, such as spine fractures.

For a primer on stem cells click on Stem Cell Basics for Life Science Researchers

source: Hebrew University