Stanford University

Last week we blogged about work by Marius Wernig of Stanford University, who has successfully converted human skin into nerves, skipping the step of first converting the cells into embryonic-like iPS cells.

Wernig is quoted in a Nature news story talking about whether the work could replace induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells or embryonic stem cells:

Last year a group of CIRM grantees at Stanford University directly converted mouse skin cells into neurons, bypassing the need to first convert those cells into an embryonic-like state. Now they've gone a step farther, pulling off the same feat with human cells. They published the work in the May 26 Nature.

Krista Conger at Stanford University blogged about that work , quoting senior author Marius Wernig:

A new Nature paper from CIRM grantees at Stanford University once again shows the value of reprogrammed iPS cells in understanding disease. Scientists can't develop a therapy for a disease if they don't know what it is going wrong. In many cases, iPS cells have provided the first ever way of peering into diseased cells and finding which proteins and genes need fixing.

In celebration of National Cancer Research Month, our colleagues at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute have posted a series of blog entries about cancer research at their institute. The latest installment includes CIRM grantee Robert Wechsler-Reya, who moved to California from Duke University on a CIRM Research Leadership Award.

Stem cell scientists at the University of Michigan and in Detroit have created two embryonic stem cell lines that contain disease-causing mutations: Hemophilia B, a hereditary condition in which the blood does not clot properly and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, an inherited disorder leading to degeneration of muscles in the foot, lower leg and hand.

We've long claimed that one ideal role for iPS cells is modeling disease and screening drugs. In fact, we're so committed to that idea we produced a video about it with CIRM grantee Bruce Conklin at the Gladstone Institutes. Scientific American also has a story on disease model their March issue, available online.