Tag Archives: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Efficient process using microRNA converts human skin cells into neurons

The addition of two particular gene snippets to a skin cell’s usual genetic material is enough to turn that cell into a fully functional neuron, report researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine. The finding, published online July 13 in Nature, is one of just a few recent reports of ways to create human neurons in a lab dish.

The new capability to essentially grow neurons from scratch is a big step for neuroscience research, which has been stymied by the lack of human neurons for study. Unlike skin cells or blood cells, neurons are not something that’s easy
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How To Heal Diabetes Using Stem Cells

Image by engineroomblog via Flickr

Using skin cells from people with type 1 diabetes, researchers were able to produce cells that made insulin in response to changing blood sugar levels, though not as efficiently as normal insulin-producing cells do. (…) “This is a big deal,” said Susan Solomon, CEO of the New York Stem Cell Foundation, which provided some of the funding for the study. “Tackling the basic biology of type 1 diabetes, which is a very complex disease, is a critical step. With these cells, we can see in a dish what’s happening to the immune system, and if
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Two Proteins let Skin Cells to return to life

Never mind facial masks and exfoliating scrubs, skin takes care of itself. Stem cells located within the skin actively generate differentiating cells that can ultimately form either the body surface or the hairs that emanate from it. In addition, these stem cells are able to replenish themselves, continually rejuvenating skin and hair. Now, researchers at Rockefeller University have identified two proteins that enable these skin stem cells to undertake this continuous process of self-renewal.

The work, published in Nature Genetics, brings new details to the understanding of how stem cells maintain — and lose — their status as stem cells
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$3M improves college stem cells research

Unlocking knowledge about how organisms develop and repair, stem cell research holds great promise for future therapies for injuries and conditions, from infertility and Alzheimer’s to heart failure and cancer. As part of its mission to promote cross-campus interactions and enhance training in stem cell biology at Cornell, the Cornell Stem Cell Program (CSCP) held its second Stem Cell Retreat May 17 on campus.

About 85 members of the Cornell stem cell research community attended the event, which featured keynote speaker Dr. Lawrence Goldstein, director of the Stem Cell Program at University of California, San Diego, and the Howard Hughes
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Blood Vessel Cells Are Key to Growing Unlimited Amounts of Adult Stem Cells

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) scientists have discovered that endothelial cells, the building blocks of the vascular system, keep blood stem cells dividing healthily in a lab dish much longer and more effectively than previous methods of growing the cells. The new advance dramatically improves scientists’ ability to manufacture large quantities of authentic adult blood stem cells, which may help revolutionize the field of bone marrow transplantation.

Shahin Rafii, an HHMI investigator at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, and his colleagues report on the development of an endothelial cell platform that supports self-renewal of the blood stem
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