Current and former HIP interns launch research projects on the same rocket
by Hannah L. Robbins
Mosquitos buzzed in the warm, night air at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Half past midnight on July 18, and still the spectators could not detect activity on the launch pad. In the dark, among fellow scientists and students, Harvard Stem Cell Institute Internship Program (HIP) intern Michael Liu waited.
Lee Rubin, PhD, and Amy Wagers, PhD, (below) of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute provide more evidence that a protein known as GDF11 reverses signs of aging in mice. (Credit: B.D. Colen/Harvard University)
Harvard Stem Cell Scientists have discovered that the same chemicals that stimulate muscle development in zebrafish can also be used to differentiate human stem cells into muscle cells in the laboratory, an historically challenging task that, now overcome, makes muscle cell therapy a more realistic clinical possibility.
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a rare childhood cancer that arises in muscle stem cells. Between 250-350 cases are treated each year. The disease most commonly begins as a noticeable swelling in the arms, legs, head, neck, or groin, and is treated by surgical removal of the tumor, as well as chemotherapy or irradiation. Currently, about 80% of patients diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma survive, as the disease is often caught early enough for intervention.