“Mini-brains” model an autism spectrum disorder and help test treatments

Rett syndrome is a rare form of autism spectrum disorder that impairs brain development and causes problems with movement, speech, and even breathing. It is caused by mutations in a gene called MECP2 and primarily affects females. Although there are therapies to alleviate symptoms, there is currently no cure for this genetic disorder. With CIRM … Continue reading “Mini-brains” model an autism spectrum disorder and help test treatments

Ask the Stem Cell Team About Autism

Do an online search for “autism stem cells” and you quickly come up with numerous websites offering stem cell therapies for autism. They offer encouraging phrases like “new and effective approach” and “a real, lasting treatment.” They even include dense scientific videos featuring people like Dr. Arnold Caplan, a professor at Case Western Reserve University … Continue reading Ask the Stem Cell Team About Autism

CIRM supported study finds that a gene associated with autism influences brain stem cells

In a previous blog post, we discussed new findings in a CIRM supported study at the Salk Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a developmental disorder that comes in broad ranges and primarily affects communication and behavior. This week, a new study, also supported by CIRM, finds that a gene associated with ASD, intellectual disability, … Continue reading CIRM supported study finds that a gene associated with autism influences brain stem cells

CIRM funded study links rapid brain growth in autism to DNA damage

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder that comes in broad ranges and primarily affects communication and behavior. Many people with ASD also have macrocephaly, or unusually large heads. Unfortunately, understanding the underlying causes of this disorder and development of potential treatments has been slow. However, Dr. Rusty Gage and his team at the … Continue reading CIRM funded study links rapid brain growth in autism to DNA damage

Genetic defect leads to slower production of brain cells linked to one form of autism

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a genetic disorder that is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability in children, and has also been linked to a form of autism. Uncovering the cause of FXS could help lead to a deeper understanding of autism, what causes it and ultimately, it’s hoped, to treating or even … Continue reading Genetic defect leads to slower production of brain cells linked to one form of autism

Stem cell-derived, 3D brain tissue reveals autism insights

Studying human brain disorders is one of the most challenging fields in biomedical research. Besides the fact that the brain is incredibly complex, it’s just plain difficult to peer into it. For one thing, it’s not practical, let alone ethical, to drill into an affected person’s skull and collect brain cells to learn about their … Continue reading Stem cell-derived, 3D brain tissue reveals autism insights

CIRM-funded team uncovers novel function for protein linked to autism and schizophrenia

Imagine you’ve just stopped your car at the top of the steepest street in San Francisco. Now, if want to stay at the top of the hill you’re going to need to keep your foot on the brakes. Let go and you’ll start rolling down. Fast. Conceptually, similar decision points happen in human development. A … Continue reading CIRM-funded team uncovers novel function for protein linked to autism and schizophrenia

One scientist’s quest to understand autism using stem cells

April is National Autism Awareness Month and people and organizations around the world are raising awareness about a disorder that affects more than 20 million people globally. Autism affects early brain development and causes a wide spectrum of social, mental, physical and emotional symptoms that appear during childhood. Because the symptoms and their severity can … Continue reading One scientist’s quest to understand autism using stem cells

Stories that caught our eye: stem cell transplants help put MS in remission; unlocking the cause of autism; and a day to discover what stem cells are all about

Stem cell transplants help put MS in remission: A combination of high dose immunosuppressive therapy and transplant of a person’s own blood stem cells seems to be a powerful tool in helping people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) go into sustained remission. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s own immune system … Continue reading Stories that caught our eye: stem cell transplants help put MS in remission; unlocking the cause of autism; and a day to discover what stem cells are all about