2010

2010

2010

April 18, 2010

HSCI Science Update: September 2010

October 13, 2010

Synthetic RNAs Leading to Real Changes in Reprogramming Strategies

Key limiting factors in the utility and applicability of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSCs) include the low efficiency of transformation and the potentially oncogenic factors that are used in the protocols. An exciting advance recently published by Harvard Stem Cell Institute Principal Faculty member Derrick Rossi and colleagues is now likely to remove both these obstacles. In their new paper, Rossi and fellow researchers describe a reprogramming strategy that uses synthetic mRNAS to reprogram cells to

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HSCI Science Update: May-June 2010

June 30, 2010

WT1 Targets Provide Insights Into Kidney Development

The Wilms' tumor suppressor 1 gene (WT1) is an important factor in development of the progenitors of the nephron, the basic structural and functional unit of the kidney, during kidney development. In order to identify the factors that the WT1 gene targets and in turn gain a better understanding of nephron progenitor differentiation, HSCI Principal Faculty member Jordan Kreidberg, MD, and fellow researchers used methods to identify over 1500 genes bound by WT1. Functional assays on the identified target genes revealed signaling

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HSCI Science Update: April 2010

April 30, 2010

One of These Things is Not Like the Other…and Provides Clues to Developmental Potential

Since induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells were first introduced just a few years ago, their equivalence to embryonic stem cells has not been entirely ascertained. In order to address this question, HSCI Principal Faculty member Konrad Hochedlinger and fellow researchers studied genetically identical mouse embryonic stem cells and iPS cells. They found that the RNA expressed by the two different types of cells was almost identical with the exception of one particular gene cluster that was not

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HSCI Science Update: March 2010

March 31, 2010

Approaching an Endgame? Telomerase Defects Shed Light on Pluripotency

The telomere is the region of DNA at the end of chromosomes that protects them and allows replication to proceed to the end of the chromosome. At each DNA replication cycle, the telomeres are shortened and an enzyme called telomerase elongates the shortened telomere. Defects in telomere maintenance are associated with cancer, aging, and diseases such as Dyskeratosis congenital (DC). In order to investigate DC, a telomere maintenance disease, and the impact of defects in telomerase function on iPS cell

Read more about HSCI Science Update: March 2010

HSCI Science Update: February 2010

February 18, 2010

Tumor Suppressor Genes DOK Lung Cell Growth

Tumor suppressors are genes whose products act to control cell division. Disturbance of tumor suppressor gene function can have serious implications for the development of cancer. HSCI Principal Faculty member Pier Pandolfi and colleagues recently described, the discovery of three lung tumor suppressors. The group identified the downstream of tyrosine kinase (Dok) family members Dok1, Dok2, and Dok3 as lung tumor suppressors that result in lung cancer when mutated in a mouse. The identification of these genes may provide important

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HSCI Science Update: January 2010

January 15, 2010

New Technique Helps Identify Leukemia Initiating Cells

Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is associated with the accumulation of promyelocyte cells in the bone marrow and blood. A majority of APL patients have a chromosomal translocation leading to the expression of a certain protein (promyelocytic-retinoic acid receptor alpha protein). In most patients, treatment with retinoic acid eliminates this protein and causes the leukemia cells to disappear. However, in some patients that does not work.  The cause of this failure has been hypothesized to be due to the continued

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“Good” cells can go “bad” in a “bad neighborhood"

March 22, 2010

The general theory of cancer development holds that malignancies occur because of the presence of certain genetic elements within the affected cells.

But a new study by Harvard researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) indicates that “good” cells can become cancerous because of exposure to a “bad” environment within the body — similarly to the way a “good boy” may turn to crime when exposed to the pressures of life in a crime-ridden neighborhood.

In their paper in today’s edition of the journal Nature, David T. Scadden and colleagues report that normal blood stem

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HSCI call for proposals - Kidney Program pilot grants

April 22, 2010

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) Kidney Program invites applications for Pilot Grant funding for 2010. The purpose of this funding program is to provide resources for innovative projects by investigators in the field of kidney stem cell biology, including basic, translational or clinical research. This funding is for groundbreaking, innovative, high- impact research projects that could fundamentally enhance biomedical research around proximal tubule associated components of the kidney. Read more about HSCI call for proposals - Kidney Program pilot grants

HSCI call for proposals - Cancer Program pilot grants

May 4, 2010

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) Cancer Program invites applications for Pilot Grant funding for 2010. The purpose of this funding program is to provide resources for innovative projects by investigators in the field of cancer stem cell biology, including basic, translational or clinical research. This funding is for groundbreaking, innovative, high- impact research projects that could fundamentally enhance biomedical research.  Particularly welcomed are applications that promote the Program mission: to identify critical genes and pathways that sufficiently distinguish cancer from normal stem cells and hence serve as candidate targets for therapy. Read more about HSCI call for proposals - Cancer Program pilot grants

David Scadden, MD, and Leonard I. Zon, MD, win Hematology Society awards

July 22, 2010

"The American Society of Hematology (ASH), the world’s largest professional society of blood specialists, will honor six scientists who have made significant contributions to the understanding and treatment of hematologic diseases. These awards will be presented at the 52nd ASH Annual Meeting taking place December 4-7 in Orlando."

Two HSCI Principal Faculty members are among those receiving awards.

"David T. Scadden, MD, of the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Boston, MA, will be presented with the 2010 Dameshek Prize for his landmark

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Response to federal injunction on stem cell funding

August 25, 2010

Dear friends,

Back to square one.

Little could we have imagined that we would be writing to you about yet another governmental impediment to the development of stem cell-based treatments and cures that millions of Americans desperately await.

But sadly, as you know from the latest news reports, the Chief Justice of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a temporary injunction barring the federal government from funding research on any human embryonic stem cell lines - including those approved by

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