Mountain climbing raises money for stem cell research, Parkinson's disease

A group of Parkinson's disease patients and family members have hit on a new twist to athletic fundraisers. Forget the local charity 10K race - they are hiking 19,000 foot Mt.

German stem cell clinic shut down amidst safety concerns

On Sunday the UK Telegraph reported the closing of a stem cell clinic in Germany that has been the source of international concern. Last year, a clinic offering stem cell cures in Costa Rica was shut down by the country's health ministry.

CIRM grantees directly create neuronal stem cells for research and therapies

CIRM grantees at the Scripps Research Institute, University of California, San Diego and Sanford-Burnham Research Institute have taken an intriguing step toward producing neural progenitor cells for research or therapies. The team, led by Sheng Ding who has recently moved to the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, started with mouse skin cells and converted them directly to an early stage of neural cell. The work was published in the April 26 online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Skin cells to beating heart cells in just 11 days

(Comment: it appears that we already blogged about this study back in February. It's interesting work, though, so this second blog entry gets to remain.)

More questions raised about iPS cells safety

Much has been written over the past few days about a spate of new papers by CIRM grantees showing significant differences between reprogrammed iPS cells and embryonic stem cells (see the San Diego Union TribuneDiscover, Technology Review) and CIRM gran

Notes from Calgary: Stem cell hype and medical tourism

CIRM's Senior Officer to the Standards Working Group, Geoff Lomax, is blogging this week from Calgary where his attending the Canadian Stem Cell Network's meeting "Stem Cell Controversies".  

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.

Costa Rica strikes against false hope

Many people in the stem cell community and at CIRM have been concerned about the growing trend of stem cell tourism -- people going overseas to receive unproven "stem cell" therapies. The term Stem Cells is in quotes here because in general these clinics are less than open about what, exactly, the therapy entails. One tourism destination in Costa Rica owned by an Arizona entrepreneur was just shut down by the country's Health Ministry.

Small DNA changes, life or death consequences

Two recent papers by CIRM grantees highlight the importance of understanding basic stem cell biology while developing new cures. Both have to do with chemical modifications to the DNA – called epigenetics.

One of the two papers shows that an epigenetic change in DNA, called methylation, changes dramatically as human embryonic stem cells mature into specific cell types; the other shows that even subtle DNA methylation differences alter the way a cell behaves.

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