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
Cardiomyocytes, the workhorse cells that make up the beating heart, can now be made cheaply and abundantly in the laboratory.
A team of Wisconsin scientists describes a way to transform human stem cells — both embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells — into the critical heart muscle cells by simple manipulation of one key developmental pathway. The technique promises a uniform, inexpensive and far more efficient alternative to the complex bath of serum or growth factors now used to nudge blank slate stem cells to become specialized heart cells.
“Our protocol is more efficient and robust,” explains Sean Palecek, the senior
An exercise machine that helps stroke victims walk. An advanced technology for assessing the progress of prostate cancer. A faster process for making neural stem cells to investigate new treatments for injury and disease. A cheaper, more beautiful LED light bulb. A game to teach meditation.
These projects, and a dozen more, are beneficiaries of the first round of awards by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Discovery to Product, or D2P, program, which began operating in March. The 17 grants announced this week will support innovations in many fields of research at the university, from food engineering and medicine to stem
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