USC Stem Cell researchers share a vision of the future

(Stem Cells News image)

What do former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and singer have in common? They both attended this year’s Milken Institute Global Conference, where USC Stem Cellresearchers offered a glimpse into the future of regenerative medicine (…)

During a well-attended panel session about regenerative medicine, Paula Cannon, associate professor at the Keck School of Medicine and principal investigator with USC Stem Cell, talked about genetically modifying hematopoietic or blood-forming stem cells to cure HIV/AIDS (…)

She also emphasized the recent progress made in the field of stem cell biology as a whole (…)

One such way might be through fasting, according to preliminary data from Valter Longo, professor of gerontology and principal investigator with USC Stem Cell. He shared evidence that fasting “turns on” hematopoietic stem cells, which can regenerate the immune system and possibly protect against cancers. Fasting also appears to encourage neural stem cells to regenerate, protecting against the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

“We think — and we have a lot of evidence for this — that you need to push the body into being in a ketogenesis mode [during which fats are broken down to produce energy-storing molecules called “ketone bodies”], and this happens after about two days of fasting,” said Longo, Edna M. Jones Professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology. Longo has a joint appointment at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “So that’s what you need to reach to have this reprogramming,” which appears to activate stem cells.

Fellow USC Stem Cell principal investigator and USC Davis Dean Pinchas Cohen discussed how new tools to predict life expectancy can help people make the most of their remaining years.

“How we plan our retirements, how we plan our health care can now be customized, individualized and personalized to a much greater degree using combinations of genomic technologies and informatics,” he said. “And that allows us to maximize the individual benefit for each person.” (…)


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