Presentations at ISSCR that caught our eye: Stem cell clinical trials expand as work to improve our understanding of just how they work goes on in parallel

In a special edition of our weekly roundup, here are some highlights from just the first two days of the four-day annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research  Seeing stem cells from both sides now. As the biggest gathering of stem cell researchers each year, the annual meeting of the International Society … Continue reading Presentations at ISSCR that caught our eye: Stem cell clinical trials expand as work to improve our understanding of just how they work goes on in parallel

ISSCR 2014: Tony Atala, Jason Burdick and the Power of Tissue Engineering

The progress in tissue engineering in just the past two decades has been like the construction industry moving from simple lean-to structures to homes with plumbing, heating and cooling systems. We are not yet ready to build a high-rise—think of a beating functioning heart—but we are making major strides toward that goal. One of the … Continue reading ISSCR 2014: Tony Atala, Jason Burdick and the Power of Tissue Engineering

ISSCR 2014: If we learn how to help our stem cells keep their balance we might reduce the effects of aging

The effects of aging come from a decline in our stem cells’ ability to do their job. Four speakers on the second day of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) conference laid out how this happens and showed the results of some early attempts to make our aging stem cells perform like young … Continue reading ISSCR 2014: If we learn how to help our stem cells keep their balance we might reduce the effects of aging

ISSCR 2014: Talking Twitter and Stem Cells

One of the fascinating things about the ISSCR (International Society for Stem Cell Research) annual conference is that you learn so much about so many things, ranging from the latest in Parkinson’s research (more on that later this week) to the impact of social media on people’s knowledge about stem cells. At a poster presentation … Continue reading ISSCR 2014: Talking Twitter and Stem Cells

ISSCR 2014: Learning how we developed as embryos key to turning stem cells into the tissues patients need

The concept that basic lab bench science produces discoveries that eventually lead to therapies is a touchstone of the research enterprise—and the principal was front and center in the opening “presidential” plenary session of the International Society for Stem Cell Research Wednesday afternoon. Three of the four presenters relied in part on a subset of … Continue reading ISSCR 2014: Learning how we developed as embryos key to turning stem cells into the tissues patients need

ISSCR: Getting new cells where you want them can be major undertaking

Motor neuron progenitors (green) derived from human embryonic stem cells. Death of motor neurons is a hallmark of ALS. Image: Sharyn Rossi, Hans Keirstead Lab at the University of California, Irvine Over the past few months a fair amount of data has come out about the first trials using stem cells to treat ALS, also … Continue reading ISSCR: Getting new cells where you want them can be major undertaking

ISSCR: Searching for a new model for rebuilding the heart after a heart attack

Heart muscle precursors derived from embryonic stem cells. (Image courtesy of Bruce Conklin at The Gladstone Institutes) Models are important in helping develop and test new ideas and new approaches. But they’re not always perfect. For example a 6’ 2” rail-thin model strutting the catwalk in Milan is not an ideal representation of the average … Continue reading ISSCR: Searching for a new model for rebuilding the heart after a heart attack

ISSCR: How a piece of chalk, and a few stem cells, could help solve life’s greatest challenges

One of the more intriguing signs around the vast Boston conference center at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) is a large chalkboard that poses the question: “What if you could solve some of life’s greatest challenges using stem cells?” It then asks people to list their stem cell … Continue reading ISSCR: How a piece of chalk, and a few stem cells, could help solve life’s greatest challenges

ISSCR: Gene therapy shows power of going back to the bench after being at the bedside

In gene therapy, modified viruses are used to insert corrected genes into patients’ cells Anyone who has followed the long twisted road of developing gene therapy knows the story of the big oops that happened with the first large trial in Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID). This fatal disease is sometimes called “bubble boy” disease … Continue reading ISSCR: Gene therapy shows power of going back to the bench after being at the bedside