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First spinal cord injury patient enrolled for Geron stem cell trial

The first official clinical trial using stem cells to treat patients with spinal injury is now underway (also see ‘US give Geron Go-ahead for ESC Trial for Spinal Cord Injury’). The first patient to receive the trial treatment was enrolled on Monday at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Another 9 patients who have recently suffered spinal cord injuries will be enrolled from 6 other potential sites in the United States to be listed on the company’s website. Patients undergoing the trial treatment will receive transplants of hESC-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells within 14 days of the injury.

Rapid and highly efficient reprogramming of cells with RNA

Research published in the 30th September edition of Cell Stem Cell reports that human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) can be rapidly and efficiently derived with messenger RNA (mRNA). This research, from the laboratory of Derrick Rossi shows that daily transfection of differentiated human cells with modified synthetic mRNAs encoding the four canonical Yamanaka factors KLF4, c-MYC, OCT4, and SOX2 can reprogram cells to pluripotency with conversion efficiencies and kinetics substantially superior to established viral protocols. The authors also demonstrate the directed differentiation of RNA-hiPSCs to terminally differentiated muscle cells. The reprogramming of human fibroblasts using exactly this strategy has already been published from the laboratory of David Givol, albeit with reduced efficiency.

Rapid and highly efficient reprogramming of cells with RNA

Research published in the 30th September edition of Cell Stem Cell reports that human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) can be rapidly and efficiently derived with messenger RNA (mRNA). This research, from the laboratory of Derrick Rossi shows that daily transfection of differentiated human cells with modified synthetic mRNAs encoding the four canonical Yamanaka factors KLF4, c-MYC, OCT4, and SOX2 can reprogram cells to pluripotency with conversion efficiencies and kinetics substantially superior to established viral protocols. The authors also demonstrate the directed differentiation of RNA-hiPSCs to terminally differentiated muscle cells. The reprogramming of human fibroblasts using exactly this strategy has already been published from the laboratory of David Givol, albeit with reduced efficiency.

Yamanaka Factors, Version 2.0

With each month’s Featured Lab Series, the Stem Cells Portal extend an invitation to one of the Featured Lab members to contribute a short review of a paper of their interest for feature on the Stem Cells Portal. This month, Minh Hong from the Kaufman Laboratory has contributed an article which focuses on a key paper published recently in PNAS that addresses the further evolution of reprogramming factors for induced pluripotency.

Yamanaka Factors, Version 2.0

With each month’s Featured Lab Series, the Stem Cells Portal extend an invitation to one of the Featured Lab members to contribute a short review of a paper of their interest for feature on the Stem Cells Portal. This month, Minh Hong from the Kaufman Laboratory has contributed an article which focuses on a key paper published recently in PNAS that addresses the further evolution of reprogramming factors for induced pluripotency.

An Interview with Dan Kaufman

kaufmanport

 

By Carla B. Mellough

An Interview with Dan Kaufman

Dan S. Kaufman,

‘After being in the stem cell field for over ten years, I can still see that there remains considerable confusion by the general public over the potential of different stem cell populations to treat human diseases where there are not currently effective therapies.´

Gene Expression Goes Loopy for Mediator and Cohesin

By Stuart P. Atkinson

DNA looping to allow proximity of enhancers and promoter sequences has been suggested as a means to regulate gene expression, but the mechanisms by which this occurs and the factors involved are still to be fully understood. However an advance online publication from Nature uncovers a mechanism by which DNA-looping-mediated regulation of gene expression occurs in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC).

Gene Expression Goes Loopy for Mediator and Cohesin

By Stuart P. Atkinson

DNA looping to allow proximity of enhancers and promoter sequences has been suggested as a means to regulate gene expression, but the mechanisms by which this occurs and the factors involved are still to be fully understood. However an advance online publication from Nature uncovers a mechanism by which DNA-looping-mediated regulation of gene expression occurs in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC).

Journal Research Tools

Know which way to miRoam: Red means ‘GO’, Green ‘STOP’!

Know which way to miRoam: Red means ‘GO’, Green ‘STOP’!

By Carla B. Mellough

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) are shown to have many of the characteristics of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) including prolonged proliferative capacity and differentiation across all germ layers. The therapeutic potential of human iPSC (hiPSC), however, remains controversial. Whilst the use of hiPSC would overcome some of the ethical issues surrounding hESC, their suitability and usefulness as a replacement cell type has recently fallen into question. For example, concerns have been raised over the retention of epigenetic memory from the iPSC cell of origin (see iPSC don’t forget their origins) which questions their level of reprogramming, and may be the cause of their apparently biased pluripotent potential. However, conversely, it has been suggested that in fact iPSC and hESC are very similar (see Similar Human iPSC and ESC Chromatin States Suggests Usefulness in Regenerative Medicine). Various hiPSC clones differ with regards to their level of reprogramming and differentiation potential and being able to identify those of greatest potential therapeutic value would no doubt help the advancement of hiPSC research.

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