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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is one of the most common types of leukemia—a cancer of the bone marrow and blood—in adults, affecting about 13,300 women and men in the United States annually. The disease is also diagnosed in hundreds of children in this country each year.
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
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
"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
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