Tag Archives: James Thomson

WiCell marks stem cell anniversary with WISC Bank expansion

A year after President Barack Obama issued a landmark executive order to remove eight years of limitations on U.S. federal funding of stem cell research, the WiCell Research Institute has expanded the number of cell lines available through its WISC Bank (Wisconsin International Stem Cell) to 33.

WiCell, host of the former National Stem Cell Bank (NSCB) for five years under a contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has transitioned the distribution of all of the 20 human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines formerly available through the NSCB to its own stem cell bank. The bank also continues
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Stem Cells, the power to divide

In the beginning, one cell becomes two, and two become four. Being fruitful, they multiply into a ball of many cells, a shimmering sphere of human potential. Scientists have long dreamed of plucking those naive cells from a young human embryo and coaxing them to perform, in sterile isolation, the everyday miracle they perform in wombs: transforming into all the 200 or so kinds of cells that constitute a human body. Liver cells. Brain cells. Skin, bone, and nerve.

James A. Thomson

The dream is to launch a medical revolution in which ailing organs and tissues might be repaired—not
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Induced neural stem cells: Not quite ready for prime time

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The great promise of induced pluripotent stem cells is that the all-purpose cells seem capable of performing all the same tricks as embryonic stem cells, but without the controversy.

However, a new study published this week (Feb. 15) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences comparing the ability of induced cells and embryonic cells to morph into the cells of the brain has found that induced cells — even those free of the genetic factors used to program their all-purpose qualities — differentiate less efficiently and faithfully than their embryonic counterparts.

The finding that induced cells are
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Novocell announces patent on insulin-producing stem-cell technique

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SAN DIEGO – Novocell, a small, privately held San Diego company, may have found new ways to make money from its technique for coaxing human embryonic stem cells into insulin-producing pancreatic cells.
That’s good news in a field that has had trouble attracting investor funding. Many venture capital firms have been skittish because of politics and the nascency of the embryonic stem cell science.

The biotechnology company announced Tuesday that it received a patent that essentially gives it control over all endoderm cells made from human embryonic stem cells.
Endoderm cells are precursor cells that can eventually develop into cells
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Study reveals critical similarity between two types of do-it-all stem cells

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Ever since human induced pluripotent stem cells were first derived in 2007, scientists have wondered whether they were functionally equivalent to embryonic stem cells, which are sourced in early stage embryos.

Both cell types have the ability to differentiate into any cell in the body, but their origins — in embryonic and adult tissue — suggest that they are not identical.

Although both cell types have great potential in basic biological research and in cell- and tissue-replacement therapy, the newer form, called IPS cells, have two advantages. They face less ethical constraint, as they do not require embryos.
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