Srivastata

Stem cells for a broken heart? Maybe one day

The LA Times has a timely story in the week leading up to Valentine's day summarizing the role of stem cells in mending a broken heart. There's been a lot of talk - and a lot of money invested -- over the past few years pushing bone marrow stem cells as a tool for repairing damage after heart attack.

Stem cell research like picking stocks? We don't think so.

A story by Nick Wade in Monday's New York Times rubbed some scientists the wrong way - and I must admit the piece was not too popular around CIRM headquarters.

Wade equated research funding with picking stocks. His idea is that a broad portfolio is bound to include some winners (he attributes this approach to the NIH and NSF) whereas attempts to only buy the big winners can produce a risky portfolio (an approach he attributes to CIRM).

Molecules found that control the development of blood vessel cells

Researchers at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease have identified two molecules, called microRNAs, that push early heart cells to mature into the smooth muscle cells that line blood vessels. These same molecules also control when those smooth muscle cells divide to repair damage or in diseases such as cancer or atherosclerosis, which both involve unhealthy blood vessel growth. The two microRNAs, miR-145 and miR-143, are abundant in the primitive heart cells of prenatal mice, leading those cells to differentiate into various mature heart and aorta cells.

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