Stanford University

Weeding out the tumor-forming cells from potential stem cell therapies

CIRM grantees at Stanford University have removed some of the risk of therapies based on human embryonic stem cells or reprogrammed adult cells, known as iPS cells.

A fifth group turns skin to neurons, creating a model for Alzheimer's disease

A few weeks ago, my colleague used this space to discuss the second and third papers showing teams had turned skin cells directly into neurons, noting that this replication of research results is essential to verifying the initial breakthrough while refining and improving it. She noted that only after much replication and refinement would she or anyone else want the resulting cells for therapy.

Aggressive breast cancer treated with bone marrow stem cells

Last week brought a paper by Stanford researchers that has been a long, long time coming. It shows that 12-14 years after the experimental treatment, women with metastatic breast cancer benefited from high dose chemotherapy followed by transplantation of their own blood-forming stem cells. The paper was published online July 15 in Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Improved technique for directly converting skin to neurons

This is the way things often go in science: One group announces a breakthrough. Yah! Then for the next several years, scientists all over the world replicate and improve on that breakthrough until it's finally believable and widely useful.

To people outside science who read about the initial breakthrough, this may look a lot like scientists twiddling their thumbs, sitting on new therapies. But really, do you want a therapy based on a breakthrough that may or may not be real? Right, neither do I.

In vitro fertilization technique receives patent

Last December CIRM grantee Renee Reijo Pera spoke to the CIRM governing board about her work identifying which in vitro fertilization embryos were most likely to result in a successful pregnancy (you can watch that video here).

On stem cells, aging and hopes for spryer golden years

Last week my three year old scraped up the entire left side of his face. Today, there's barely a trace of the injury. That's the glory of three year old skin, or more precisely, the glory of three year old stem cells.

CIRM grantee Robert Blelloch wins ISSCR Outstanding Young Investigator Award

CIRM grantee Robert Blelloch of the University of California, San Francisco won the 2011 Outstanding Young Investigator Award from the International Society for Stem Cell Research. The society's annual meeting is taking place now in Toronto.

Blelloch presented his research June 15 at 6pm and will participate in a press briefing at noon June 16. His work focuses on the role of small molecules called microRNAs and their role in stem cell biology and cancer.

Techniques for tracking stem cells necessary for possible therapies

Last week The Scientist carried a story addressing a topic near and dear to the heart of anyone trying to develop a therapy based on transplanting stem cells, whether they are embryonic, adult, or iPS cells: Where do the cells go once they are transplanted?

Hit embryonic stem cell research, hurt iPS research too

Those of you who follow this space have read our opinions on embryonic vs. adult vs. reprogrammed iPS cells. For those of you who don't watch this space, here's our opinion in a nutshell: There is no "vs." All types of stem cells could be therapeutically valuable, and what we learn in one cell type often directly translates to discoveries in another cell type.

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