“No matter how much one prepares, the first patient is always something very special.” That’s how Dr. Mark Humayun describes his feelings as he prepared to deliver a CIRM-funded stem cell therapy to help someone going blind from dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Humayun, an ophthalmologist and stem cell researcher at USC, spent years developing … Continue reading The moment of truth. A video about the stem cell therapy that could help millions of people going blind.
Dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the U.S. By 2020 it’s estimated that as many as three million Americans will be affected by the disease. Right now, there is no effective therapy. But that could change. A new CIRM-funded clinical trial is showing promise in helping people battling … Continue reading Encouraging news about CIRM-funded clinical trial targeting vision loss
Repairing, even reversing, the damage caused by a heart attack is the Holy Grail of stem cell researchers. For years the Grail seemed out of reach because the cells that researchers transplanted into heart attack patients didn’t stick around long enough to do much good. Now researchers at Stanford may have found a way around … Continue reading Creating a platform to help transplanted stem cells survive after a heart attack
Tissue engineers have made amazing progress when it comes to using stem cells to build tissues such as blood vessels, which have relatively simple tubular shape. In fact, a late stage CIRM-funded clinical trial run by Humacyte is testing an engineered vein to improve dialysis treatment for people with kidney disease. Building a lung that … Continue reading Bioengineers make breathtaking step toward building a lung
The ultimate goal of tissue engineers who work in the regenerative medicine field is to replace damaged or diseased organs with new ones built from stem cells. To accomplish the feat, these researchers are developing new tools and techniques to manipulate and specialize stem cells into three dimensional structures. Some popular methods – which we’ve … Continue reading Attractive new regenerative medicine tool uses magnets to shape and stimulate stem cells
Just when you thought puppies couldn’t get any cuter, this video appears in your twitter feed. These adorable English bulldog puppies are named Darla and Spanky, and they were born with a birth defect called spina bifida where the bones and tissue surrounding the spinal cord fail to fuse completely. Spina bifida occurs in 1500-2000 … Continue reading Stem cell treatment helps puppies born with spina bifida walk again
By blocking cell division, chemotherapy drugs take advantage of the fact that cancer cells multiply rapidly in the body. Though this treatment can extend and even save the lives of cancer patients, it’s somewhat like destroying an ant hill with an atomic bomb: there’s a lot of collateral damage. The treatment is infused through the … Continue reading UC Irvine scientists engineer stem cells to “feel” cancer and destroy it
DNA is the fundamental molecule to all living things. The genetic sequences embedded in its double-helical structure contain the instructions for producing proteins, the building blocks of our cells. When our cells divide, DNA readily unzips into two strands and makes a copy of itself for each new daughter cell. In a Nature Communications report … Continue reading Harnessing DNA as a programmable instruction kit for stem cell function
Nanomagnets: the future of targeted stem cell therapies? Your blood vessels are made up of tightly-packed endothelial cells. This barrier poses some big challenges for the delivery of drugs via the blood. While small molecules are able make their way through the small gaps in the blood vessel walls, larger drug molecules, including proteins and cells, … Continue reading Stories that caught our eye: color me stem cells, delivering cell therapy with nanomagnets, and stem cell decisions
This week we bring you three separate stories about the brain. Two are exciting new advances that use stem cells to understand the brain and the third is plain creepy. Bioengineering better brains. Lab grown mini-brains got an upgrade thanks to a study published this week in Nature Biotechnology. Mini-brains are tiny 3D organs that … Continue reading Stem cell stories that caught our eye: brains, brains and more brains!