University of California Los Angeles

Researchers at UC, Los Angeles have created cells that go on to form normal T cells out of human embryonic stem cells. What's more, these cells were grown in the absence of animal feeder cells, which are usually needed to sustain embryonic stem cells. Avoiding potential contamination by such feeder cells is an important step in generating cells that can be transplanted into people. The researchers describe a series of steps that drive human embryonic stem cells to begin developing as T cells.

Researchers at UC, Los Angeles discovered a series of mutations that can convert normal blood stem cells into cancer stem cells. It is believed that many types of cancer result from cancer stem cells created by such mutations. In this case the first mutation converted normal stem cells and then caused over expression of an oncogene, a cancer gene, resulting in a proliferation of leukemia stem cells and acute T-cell lymphoblastic leukemia in a mouse model.

Researchers at UC, Los Angeles succeeded in inducing skin cells to become pluripotent cells with genetic featured very much like embryonic stem cells. They verified work published during the completion of their project, which showed that the introduction of four specific genetic factors is sufficient to induce differentiated adult cells into reverting to an embryonic stem cell-like state. This was critical validation of a procedure that could lead to a new way of developing personalized cell lines for therapy.