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
Cellular Dynamics International‘s disclosure Wednesday that its researchers have generated stem cells from ordinary human blood samples holds enormous promise in the emerging field of personalized medicine.
The promise in the long term is that, by giving a vial or two of blood, we could all have our own personal stem cells to deploy in the event of a spinal cord injury or the onset of Parkinson’s disease or many other now-incurable diseases.
Cellular Dynamics is the first company to say it can make stem cells from something as readily available, and so representative of human diversity, as blood.
“This stuff sounds
The blood-brain barrier — the filter that governs what can and cannot come into contact with the mammalian brain — is a marvel of nature. It effectively separates circulating blood from the fluid that bathes the brain, and it keeps out bacteria, viruses and other agents that could damage it.
But the barrier can be disrupted by disease, stroke and multiple sclerosis, for example, and also is a big challenge for medicine, as it can be difficult or impossible to get therapeutic molecules through the barrier to treat neurological disorders.
Now, however, the blood-brain barrier may be poised to give up
World stem cell leaders will converge on Promega’s BioPharmaceutical
Technology Center in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, on April 30 for the 9th
Annual Wisconsin Stem Cell Symposium: From Stem Cells to Blood.
Coordinated by the nonprofit BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, the University of Wisconsin-Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center
and the UW-Madison Blood Research Program, this year’s symposium is
focused on how the stem cells that give rise to blood develop and
It will also look at the diversity of insights stem cell
studies have provided other fields.
Highlighted topics include genesis and regulation of progenitor cells
and hematopoietic stem cells, stem cell genomes/epigenomes, stem cell
microenvironment, and tumor initiating
Image by thomtrance via Flickr
An experiment successfully performed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Missouri in Colombia, described in Nature magazine shows that cells removed from a patient’s skin and transformed into cells similar to embryonic stem cells have become a laboratory model for diseases and can be observed in real time and studied to find new cures. The researchers recreated spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) pluripotent stem cells removed from the skin of a child affected by the neurodegenerative genetic disease. In the laboratory, the cells behaved exactly as they do in