Tag Archives: California Institute for Regenerative Medicine

New stem cell therapy could be used to halt Huntington’s advance

A team of researchers at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures has developed a technique for using stem cells to deliver therapy that specifically targets the genetic abnormality found in Huntington’s disease, a hereditary brain disorder that causes progressive uncontrolled movements, dementia and death. The findings, now available online in the journal Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, suggest a promising approach that might block the disease from advancing.

“For the first time, we have been able to successfully deliver inhibitory RNA sequences from stem cells directly into neurons, significantly decreasing the synthesis of the abnormal huntingtin protein,” said Jan A.
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Scientists measure communication between stem cell-derived motor neurons, muscle cells

In an effort to identify the underlying causes of neurological disorders that impair motor functions such as walking and breathing, UCLA researchers have developed a novel system to measure communication between stem cell–derived motor neurons and muscle cells in a Petri dish.

The study provides an important proof of principle that functional motor circuits can be created outside the body using these neurons and cells and that the level of communication, or synaptic activity, between them can be accurately measured by stimulating the motor neurons with an electrode and then tracking the transfer of electrical activity into the muscle cells
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What Decides Neural Stem Cell Fate?

A gene called SOX2 acts as a stem cell gatekeeper – only cells expressing it have the potential to become neurons.

Early in embryonic development, the neural crest – a transient group of stem cells – gives rise to parts of the nervous system and several other tissues. But little is known about what determines which cells become neurons and which become other cell types. A team led by Dr. Alexey Terskikh at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham) recently found that expression of a gene called SOX2 maintains the potential for neural crest stem cells to become neurons in the
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CIRM awards $25 million to support spinal cord injury trial, $37.7 million for basic stem cell science

The Governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the State Stem Cell Agency, approved a $25 million award to support the first FDA-approved clinical trial based on cells derived from human embryonic stem cells.

The award to Menlo Park-based Geron, Corp, will support the company’s on-going early phase trial for people with spinal cord injury. This is the first time the agency, which was created by the passage of proposition 71 in 2004, has funded a human clinical trial testing a stem cell-derived therapy.

“Supporting the Geron trial is a landmark step for CIRM,” said Robert Klein, CIRM
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Stem Cell Technology to fight Huntington’s Disease

Scientists at the UCSF-affiliated Gladstone Institutes and an international team of researchers have generated a human model of Huntington’s disease — directly from the skin cells of patients with the disease.

For years, scientists have studied Huntington’s disease primarily in post-mortem brain tissue or laboratory animals modified to mimic the disease. Today, in Cell Stem Cell, the international team shows how they developed a human model of Huntington’s disease, which causes a diverse range of neurological impairments. The new model should help scientists better understand the development of Huntington’s — and provide better ways to identify and screen potential therapeutics
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