Cells grown in culture are not alone: They are constantly communicating with one another by sending signals through their culture media that are picked up and transmitted by other cells in the media. When thousands of cells are cultured together in a dish, there are hundreds of thousands of these signals present every minute, all competing to be heard.
Scientists trying to direct cells to do useful things — like causing stem cells to turn into neurons or heart cells — typically try to overcome these signals by adding their own exogenous factors. These exogenous factors are often added at
International Stem Cell Corporation, a California-based biotechnology company, today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted the Company a patent for a method of creating pure populations of definitive endoderm, precursor cells to liver and pancreas cells, from human pluripotent stem cells. This patent is a key element of ISCO’s metabolic liver disease program and allows the Company to produce the necessary quantities of precursor cells in a more efficient and cost effective manner.
The patent, 8,268,621, adds to the Company’s growing portfolio of proprietary technologies relating to the development of potential treatments
Image by cap21photo via Flickr
On May 6, France’s Council of State (the highest administrative court and legal advisor to the executive branch) declared that it was against the practice of “renting out one’s uterus” and in favor of the permanent authorization regulations for embryo research and embryonic stem cell research under certain conditions. French Prime Minister Francois Fillon had asked the court for its opinion, in a reexamination of a 2004 bioethics law.
-Considering the interest of the child and the mother carrying the child and basic underlying principles of the present ban, we hereby recommend to not legalize
According to Science magazine, reprogrammed adult stem cells that regress to an embryonic state and have the same ability to transform into all the different tissues in the human body just like embryonic stem cells are the most important discovery of 2008. The prestigious magazine awarded the so-called ethical stem cells for their possible efficiency in curing degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and muscular dystrophy without the ethical implications associated with embryonic stem cell use. The direct observation of extrasolar planets and the development of new superconductors were also in the ranking.
Dr. Karen Aboody estimates that she has cured several hundred mice of a cancer of the central nervous system called neuroblastoma.
First she injected them with specialized neural stem cells that naturally zero in on the tumors and surround them. Then she administered an anti-cancer agent that the cells converted into a highly toxic drug (…)
For 3 1/2 years, the agency focused on the basic groundwork needed to someday use human embryonic stem cells to replace body parts damaged by injury or disease. Such cures are still far in the future.
Now the institute has a more immediate goal: boosting therapies