Tag Archives: Doctor of Philosophy

An easy manner to create heart muscle cells

Stanford cardiologist Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, and instructor Paul Burridge, PhD, have done something similar with stem cells. They’ve devised a way to create large numbers of heart muscle cells called cardiomyocytes from stem cells without using human or animal-derived products, which can vary in composition and concentration among batches. Their technique was published Sunday in Nature Methods. Wu, who is the director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute explained to me in an e-mail:

This technique solves an important hurdle for the use of iPS-derived heart cells. In order to fully realize the potential of these cells in drug screening
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A New Role for Old Sox

Understanding the genetic underpinnings of the biology of stem cells is crucial for their use in disease research and treatment. Scientists have identified a variety of genetic factors that maintain self renewal properties in embryonic, fetal, and adult stem cells. But whether these cell types are controlled by the same or different molecules is a persisting question.

Recent work from HSCI Principal Faculty Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD, begins to crack that mystery. Sox2 is a gene whose expression is required for maintaining pluripotency in early embryonic cells and regulating tissue development in the fetal stage. But until now, Sox2 expression had
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Stem Cell Survival Strategy Is Key to Blood and Immune System Health

Stem cells of the aging bone marrow recycle their own molecules to survive and keep replenishing the blood and immune systems as the body ages, researchers at UC San Francisco (UCSF) have discovered.

The recycling process, known as autophagy, or self-eating, involves reusing molecules and the chemical energy obtained from these molecules to withstand the killing effect of metabolic stress that intensifies as the body ages.

The discovery, reported online Feb. 6 in the journal Nature, showed that autophagy allows stem cells to avoid the alternative response to stress, which is programmed cellular suicide, in which cells that aren’t
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Corneal stem cells to give mom better vision

Debra Astrug was struggling. She couldn’t read or drive, she worried about crossing the street to get the mail, and she couldn’t draw (…)

Astrug needed a transplant, this time of corneal stem cells from a living donor to fix her limbal stem cell deficiency, which causes the cornea to be covered with abnormal tissue. She underwent the transplant in March 2013 at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood and now has near-perfect vision with a therapeutic lens (…)

Astrug’s sister would have been an ideal candidate to donate the tissue, but she died in 2005 from stomach cancer. Next best
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Scientists Identify Critical Process in Stem Cell Development

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have discovered that environmental factors critically influence the growth of a type of stem cell — called an iPS cell — that is derived from adult skin cells. This discovery offers newfound understanding of how these cells form, while also advancing science closer to stem cell-based therapies to combat disease.

Researchers in the laboratory of Gladstone Senior Investigator Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD, have for the first time shown that protein factors released by other cells affect the “reprogramming” of adult cells into stem cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. The scientists
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