Tag Archives: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

STEM CELLS BATTLE FOR SPACE

The body is a battle zone. Cells constantly compete with one another for space and dominance. Though the manner in which some cells win this competition is well known to be the survival of the fittest, how stem cells duke it out for space and survival is not as clear. A study on fruit flies published in the October 2 issue of Science by Johns Hopkins researchers describes how stem cells win this battle by literally sticking around.

“Our work exemplifies how one signal coordinately maintains two types of stem cells in a single niche, or microenvironment,” says Erika Matunis,
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Scientists Reveal How Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Differ From Embryonic Stem Cells and Tissue of Derivation

The same genes that are chemically altered during normal cell differentiation, as well as when normal cells become cancer cells, are also changed in stem cells that scientists derive from adult cells, according to new research from Johns Hopkins and Harvard.

Although genetically identical to the mature body cells from which they are derived, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are notably special in their ability to self-renew and differentiate into all kinds of cells. And now scientists have detected a remarkable if subtle molecular disparity between the two: They have distinct “epigenetic” signatures; that is, they differ in what gets
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Stem cells to define the origins of Schizophrenia

Scientific consensus holds that most major mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, are genetically rooted diseases of synapses, the connections between neurons in the brain. Now research has demonstrated how a rare mutation in a suspect gene corrupts the on-off switches of dozens of other genes underlying these connections.

The study appears online in the current issue of the journal Nature. Employing a disease-in-dish technology called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), the team of investigators, including UC Santa Barbara researchers, studied iPSCs from four members of an American family affected by genetically linked schizophrenia and related mental disorders.

Decades ago, researchers traced
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Scientists reprogram cancer cells with low doses of epigenetic drugs

Experimenting with cells in culture, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have breathed possible new life into two drugs once considered too toxic for human cancer treatment. The drugs, azacitidine (AZA) and decitabine (DAC), are epigenetic-targeted drugs and work to correct cancer-causing alterations that modify DNA.

The researchers said that the drugs also were found to take aim at a small but dangerous subpopulation of self-renewing cells, sometimes referred to as cancer stem cells, which evade most cancer drugs and cause recurrence and spread.

In a report published in the March 20 issue of Cancer Cell, the Johns Hopkins
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Stem Cells startup to fight ALS

USC Stem Cell researcher Justin Ichida has marshaled the expertise of pharmaceutical company Sanofi and startup DRVision Technologies, along with $1.5 million in federal funding, to find new drugs in the fight against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

ALS patients suffer from the death of the cells that transmit signals from the brain to the muscles, called motor neurons, leading to progressive paralysis and usually resulting in fatal respiratory failure within three to five years of diagnosis.

The three-year grant comes from the Department of Defense. Each year, the DoD funds two ALS Therapeutic Development Awards because military veterans
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