Even Superman needed to retire to a phone booth for a quick change. But now scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have succeeded in the ultimate switch: transforming mouse skin cells in a laboratory dish directly into functional nerve cells with the application of just three genes. The cells make the change without first becoming a pluripotent type of stem cell — a step long thought to be required for cells to acquire new identities.
The finding could revolutionize the future of human stem cell therapy and recast our understanding of how cells choose and maintain their specialties
SANTIAGO, Dominican Republic (CNN) — This Caribbean city already known for cigars, furniture, chocolate and coffee may become a magnet for Americans seeking controversial stem cell therapy for life-threatening illnesses if a Florida cardiologist has his way.
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved this stem cell therapy in the United States because no clinical trials to prove its effectiveness have been done. But Dr. Zannos Grekos says his company, Regenocyte Therapeutic, has successfully used adult stem cells to treat patients with heart and lung disease.
Grekos said he and his associates draw blood from a patient in Florida and
Imagine that a police bomb squad comes upon a diabolically designed bomb controlled by a tangled mass of different wires, lights and switches, some of which have a real function while others are decoys. The police don’t know how to begin defusing the bomb because they don’t know which parts are important. Then imagine the police discover the bomb-making factory and are able to see hundreds of these bombs at various stages of construction. With this information, they can reconstruct how the bomb was put together, and therefore how to disarm it.
For a team of researchers at
Researchers at the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and the Sackler School of Medicine in Israel have shown how the kidneys constantly grow and have surprising ability to regenerate themselves, overturning decades of accepted wisdom that such regeneration didn’t happen. It also opens a path toward new ways of repairing and even growing kidneys.
“These are basic findings that have direct implications for kidney disease and kidney regeneration,” says Yuval Rinkevich, PhD, the lead author of the paper and a postdoctoral scholar at the institute.
The findings were published online May 15 in Cell Reports.
Stanford University’s Faculty Senate today approved the creation of what officials believe is the first PhD program devoted solely to stem cell science in the nation and, perhaps, the world. The new doctoral program in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine is also the first interdisciplinary doctoral program created by the School of Medicine in recent years.
School officials say the fact that the university is taking the rare step of creating a new doctoral program acknowledges the growing importance of stem cell research in the realm of biomedical science. The senate’s initial approval