Salk Institute

Discoverer of brain stem cells becomes president of ISSCR

The North County Times had a good story yesterday about Fred Gage's new role as the president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. Gage is a renowned stem cell scientists at The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, which also wrote about his new role.

Blood from stem cells?

Blood has been among the most sought after and hardest to achieve tissue that CIRM grantees are attempting to derive from embryonic stem cells. It's an obvious target. The medical system needs a constant influx of blood, which comes entirely from volunteer donors. Creating that blood in an unlimited supply from human embryonic stem cells would significantly ease concerns about blood shortages at hospitals.

Gene replacement in stem cells made easier

A press release about CIRM grantees at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies contains what might be the truest words in stem cell science:

From stem cells to schizophrenia in a dish

Kristen Bren

Disease in a dish model provides insight on aging

Normal aging takes many decades to create major changes in our cells, so it is very difficult to study. As a result, very little is known about this fundamental inevitability of life. But that may change with the help of an unfortunate child, who by the bad luck of a single point mutation developed a rare disease that results in aging at eight to 10 times the normal pace.

The confusing (and ongoing) story of iPS vs. embryonic stem cells

It appears we weren't the only people to notice last week's convergence of reprogrammed iPS cell news -- first they are made better, then they are suggested to be worthless. USA Today ran a story summing up several years' worth of such news.

iPS developments - faster creation, but questions raised

Two pieces of news came out today about reprogrammed iPS cells - one showing a new way of making them and the other suggesting that they may not be all they're cracked up to be.

Stem cell model of autism allows testing of new drugs

Back in May 2009, CIRM held a workshop in which leading scientists discussed ways in which stem cell research could benefit people with autism (the autism workshop report from that meeting is available here). I have two friends with children who are on the spectrum and have seen first-hand the toll the disease takes on the families.

Food begets stem cells?

Drosophila

Protein protects brain from damage, may prevent neurodegenerative diseases

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found a protein that protects the brain from the kind of damage that can lead to Parkinson's disease. This protein, called Nurr1, has a long history in Parkinson's disease research. People who carry a mutation in the gene are prone to developing the disease. The new work explains how the protein prevents Parkinson's disease and could also help researchers find ways of treating of preventing the disease.

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