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Steering the epigenome to turn specific genes on

Could provide a new avenue for gene therapies and guiding stem cell differentiation
April 16, 2015

(credit: Human Epigenome Project)

Duke University researchers have developed a new method to precisely control when genes are turned on and active: by manipulating the epigenome — the web of proteins that supports and controls gene activity and a current hot topic in cancer research.

The researchers say having the ability to steer the epigenome will help them explore the roles that particular promoters and enhancers play in cell fate or the… read more

Steering toxic drug-filled nanoparticles to zap cancer, not healthy cells

November 26, 2013

Multifunctionalized drug-loaded nanoparticle

North­eastern researchers are developing sim­u­la­tion soft­ware called Mag­nasim to more accu­rately steer simulated drug-filled mag­netic nanopar­ti­cles to tumor masses where they can safely dis­charge their con­tents.

The drugs used to kill cancer cells are just as toxic to neigh­boring healthy cells, so researchers have long sought a drug delivery method that tar­gets only cancer cells, bypassing the healthy ones.

Func­tional Mag­netic Res­o­nance Imaging (fMRI) is being… read more

Stelarc: Pushing the body’s boundaries

July 26, 2011

Stelarc is a performance artist who explores the capabilities of the human body.

“All of my projects explore alternate anatomical architectures — a body with a third hand, or an extra ear, or an artwork inside a bodily space instead of a public space,” he says. “We are biological bodies, but we are often accelerated, augmented, and enhanced by technology. There may be a time soon when… read more

Stellar Countdown Yields Skymap

July 27, 2003

The SETI@home screensaver has produced a list of candidate radio sources that deserve a second look. After an equivalent to a million years of computation aided by more than 4 million computers worldwide, the researchers have created a skymap that highlights where to find some of the most promising choices (strong signals or ones that have been observed in the same spot more than once, some five or six times).… read more

Stem cell breakthrough for producing pancreatic tissue

April 4, 2008

University of Manchester and University of Sheffield researchers have discovered a new technique to turn embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into insulin-producing pancreatic tissue through genetic manipulation.

By making the ESC produce transcription factor PAX4, 20% became pancreatic beta cells.

Scientists have had difficulty turning stem cells into the specific cell required for any particular condition. Unprompted, the majority of stem cells turn into neurons.

Universityread more

Stem cell breakthrough leaves embryos unharmed

January 11, 2008

Advanced Cell Technology researchers have demonstrated that a technique to extract and culture a single embryonic cell from an embryo without destroying the remaining embryo does work, showing that the embryos survive and could develop to full term.

They produced four new lines of human embryonic stem cells using the technique.

Stem cell breakthrough may reduce cancer risk

February 28, 2008

PrimeGen says the main obstacle to using “reprogrammed” human stem cells–the danger that they might turn cancerous– has been solved.

It claims to have converted specialized adult human cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) by using methods that are more efficient–making a thousand times more colonies of reprogrammed cells–and less likely to trigger cancer than methods deployed previously.

Rather than using retroviruses to ferry the genes… read more

Stem cell breakthrough: Monitoring the on switch that turns stem cells into muscle

March 31, 2009

A genetic engineering breakthrough could lead to a genetic switch, or drug, that allows people to grow new muscle cells to replace those that are damaged, worn out, or not working for other reasons, and provides a new tool for the study of difficult-to-treat muscle cancers

Stem cell experts seek rabbit-human embryo

January 13, 2006

British scientists are seeking permission to create hybrid embryos in the lab by fusing human cells with rabbit eggs. If granted consent, the team will use the embryos to produce stem cells that carry genetic defects, in the hope that studying them will help understand the complex mechanisms behind incurable human diseases.

To make a hybrid embryo, a human skin cell would be taken from a person with motor… read more

Stem cell hopes double

June 21, 2002

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health have reversed the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease in rats using stem cells from mouse embryos. Another team of scientists from the University of Minnesota Medical School has isolated a stem cell from adult human bone marrow that can produce all the tissue types in the body, from blood to muscle to nerve.

The new reports may re-fuel the debate in the US… read more

Stem cell ‘immortality’ gene found

May 31, 2003

The key gene that keeps embryonic stem cells in a state of youthful immortality has been discovered.

The breakthrough may one day contribute to turning ordinary adult cells into those with the properties of human embryonic stem cells (capable of differentiating into the different cells in the body). This would end the need to destroy embryos to harvest the cells for new medical treatments.

Comment: “This is very… read more

Stem cell injections improve spinal injuries in rats

May 29, 2013

A three-dimensional, reconstructed magnetic resonance image (upper) shows a cavity caused by a spinal injury nearly filled with grafted neural stem cells, colored green. The lower image depicts neuronal outgrowth from transplanted human neurons (green) and development of putative contacts (yellow dots) with host neurons (blue).

A single injection of human neural stem cells produced neuronal regeneration and improvement of function and mobility in rats impaired by an acute spinal cord injury (SCI), an international team led by researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine reports

Grafting neural stem cells derived from a human fetal spinal cord to the rats’ spinal injury site produced an array of… read more

Stem Cell Lines Mark Birth of New Field

August 12, 2008

Researchers at Harvard used cells from adults with genetic diseases to make nine stem cell lines (induced pluripotent stem, or iPS cells) capable of being turned into any type of cell or tissue) that have the genes for those diseases.

These disease-specific cell lines (including Down syndrome, Type 1 diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease) provide a new way for researchers to study diseases: by cultivating the iPS cells into specific… read more

Stem Cell Mixing May Form a Human-Mouse Hybrid

November 27, 2002

Proposed stem cell experiments would involve creating a human-mouse hybrid to test different lines of human embryonic stem cells for their quality and potential usefulness in treating specific diseases.

Any animals born from the experiment would be chimeras — organisms that are mixtures of two kinds of cells, such as a mouse with a brain made entirely of human cells or a mouse that generated human sperm. However, Dr.… read more

Stem cell reprogramming made easier

September 23, 2013

iPSCs -- old vs new method

Weizmann Institute scientists show that removing one protein from adult cells enables them to efficiently turn back the clock to a stem-cell-like state.

Embryonic stem cells have the enormous potential to treat and cure many medical problems. That is why the discovery that induced embryonic-like stem cells can be created from skin cells was rewarded with a Nobel Prize in 2012.

But the process… read more

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