Volume 5.01 | Jan 13

ESC & iPSC News 5.01, January 13, 2010.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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TOP STORY

Biologists Develop Efficient Genetic Modification of Human Embryonic Stem Cells
Biologists have developed an efficient way to genetically modify human embryonic stem cells. Their approach, which uses bacterial artificial chromosomes to swap in defective copies of genes, will make possible the rapid development of stem cell lines that can both serve as models for human genetic diseases and as testbeds on which to screen potential treatments. [University of California, San Diego]

TeSR2_645x110_v01 



SCIENCE NEWS

Study Identifies a Protein Complex Possibly Crucial for Triggering Embryo Development
Researchers have discovered a protein complex that appears to play a significant role in erasing epigenetic instructions on sperm DNA, essentially creating a blank slate for the different cell types of a new embryo to develop. [UNC School of Medicine, Chapel Hill]

Scientists Identify Protein that Keeps Stem Cells Poised for Action
The role of Jarid2 in embryonic stem cells was identified. Jarid2 was found to recruit other regulatory proteins to genes important in differentiation and also, modulate their activity to keep them in a state of ongoing readiness. [Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford]

Vitamin C is Key to Creating Stem Cells
Adding vitamin C to the cell cultures was found to hold back senescence and make reprogramming much more efficient. Experiments with both mouse and human cells showed that the vitamin accelerated genetic changes and boosted the transition to a reprogrammed state. [Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou]

Needling Molecules
Researchers have developed a method using nanowires as needles to poke molecules into cells. If the method proves effective, it could greatly speed the ability to manipulate cells in a variety of applications, including stem-cell reprogramming and drug screening. [Harvard University, Boston]

China Surpasses Canada in Stem Cell Advances
Scientists in China, many of them trained at North American and European universities, published 1,116 articles on stem cells in international peer-reviewed journals in 2008, up from just 37 papers in 2000, says a team at the University of Toronto documenting China’s aggressive bid to become a major player in regenerative medicine.

Stem Cell Treatment Restores Sight to Partially Blind Man
A man who was partially blinded when ammonia was squirted in his eye during an attack 15 years ago has regained his sight after receiving a pioneering stem cell treatment. [North East England Stem Cell Institute, Newcastle]

mTeSR  
Derive iPSCs feeder-free* with mTeSR®1
by STEMCELL Technologies
 
 
*Sun et al., PNAS, 2009 STEMCELL Technologies Inc
 


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS

Opposing MicroRNA Families Regulate Self-Renewal in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells
Researchers show that the introduction of let-7 miRNAs-a family of microRNA (miRNAs) highly expressed in somatic cells-can suppress self-renewal in Dgcr8 -/- but not wild-type embryonic stem cells. [Nature]

Jumonji Modulates Polycomb Activity and Self-Renewal versus Differentiation of Stem Cells
The founding member of the Jumonji family, JMJ (JUMONJI or JARID2), was demonstrated to associate with polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), colocalizes with PRC2 and H3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3) on chromatin, and modulates PRC2 function. [Cell]

Jarid2/Jumonji Coordinates Control of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 Enzymatic Activity and Target Gene Occupancy in Pluripotent Cells
Jarid2/Jumonji, a protein enriched in pluripotent cells and a founding member of the Jumonji C domain protein family, is shown to be a polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) subunit in embryonic stem cells. Also, Jarid2 is shown to promote PRC2 recruitment to the target genes while inhibiting PRC2 histone methyltransferase activity, suggesting that it acts as a “molecular rheostat” that finely calibrates PRC2 functions at developmental genes. [Cell]

Vitamin C Enhances the Generation of Mouse and Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
The natural compound, vitamin C (Vc), is shown to enhance induced pluripotent stem cell generation from both mouse and human somatic cells. Vc acts at least in part by alleviating cell senescence, a recently identified roadblock for reprogramming. In addition, Vc accelerates gene expression changes and promotes the transition of pre-iPSC colonies to a fully reprogrammed state. [Cell Stem Cell]

SIP1 Mediates Cell-Fate Decisions between Neuroectoderm and Mesendoderm in Human Pluripotent Stem Cells
Smad-interacting protein 1 (SIP1) was demonstrated to limit the mesendoderm-inducing effects of Activin-Nodal signaling without inhibiting the pluripotency-maintaining effects exerted by SMAD2/3. [Cell Stem Cell]

Expression of the Embryonic Stem Cell Transcription Factor SOX2 in Human Skin: Relevance to Melanocyte and Merkel Cell Biology
To assess the potential role of SOX2 in melanoma growth, an in vivo tumorigenesis assay was used. Whereas SOX2 knockdown failed to influence proliferation of cultured melanoma cells in vitro , tumor xenografts generated with the SOX2-knockdown cell line showed significant decrease in mean tumor volume as compared with controls. [Am J Pathol]

Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule Regulation is Associated with the Maintenance of the Undifferentiated Phenotype of Human Embryonic Stem Cells
Here, researchers comprehensively profile the expression of epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) by immunofluorescence microscopy, Western blotting, and flow cytometry using an anti-EpCAM monoclonal antibody OC98-1. EpCAM was found to be highly and selectively expressed by undifferentiated rather than differentiated human embryonic stem cells.
 [J Biol Chem]

Ets Related Gene is Required for the Differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cells Along the Endothelial Lineage
Ets related gene (ERG) expression and function were evaluated during the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into embryoid bodies. The results of this study demonstrate that ERG is first expressed in a subpopulation of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 expressing cells that also express VE-cadherin. [BMC Dev Biol]

Expression of Reg Family Proteins in Embryonic Stem Cells and its Modulation by Wnt/(Beta)-Catenin Signaling
In this study, the expression of Reg family members in mouse embryonic stem cells was probed. Mouse Reg1 and Reg3(gamma) were detected in undifferentiated stem cells. [Stem Cells Dev]

Stage-Specific Role for Shh in Dopaminergic Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells Induced by Stromal Cells
Medium conditioned by the stromal cell line PA6 (PA6-CM) was shown to induce dopaminergic differentiation in neural stem cells (NSC) derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) but not directly from hESCs, indicating that soluble factors produced by PA6 cells act at the NSC stage to specify a dopaminergic fate. [Stem Cells Dev] 

mFreSR_645x110_v01



INDUSTRY NEWS

Living Cell Technologies Signs New Research Collaboration and Option Agreement to License Its Encapsulation Technology
Living Cell Technologies (LCT) Limited announced that it has extended the research collaboration with Centocor Research & Development Inc. and granted an exclusive two year option to take up a world-wide license for LCT’s encapsulation technology which is to be made available only for human cell lines for a specific, but undisclosed, field of use.

Cell Medica announces R&D Framework Agreement with the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine
Cell Medica announced the signing of an R&D agreement with the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, a joint program of Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and The Methodist Hospital, Houston, Texas.

Buck Institute Commits to $41 Million Stem Cell Research Building in Novato
The Buck Institute for Age Research will build a $41 million building in which to conduct stem cell research at its Novato headquarters, even if it fails to get a cent of the $15 million in federal stimulus funds for which it has applied.

Buck Institute Awarded $1.5 Million for Stem Cell Training Program
The Buck Institute for Age Research has been awarded $1,571,229 from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine for a research training program in stems cells and aging.



POLICY NEWS

Frozen Embryos ‘Have No Right to Life’
In a landmark decision, Mr. Justice Brian McGovern found the term “unborn” refers only to a fetus or a fertilized egg implanted in the womb. The judge insisted it was not the role of the courts to decide when life begins. [High Court, Ireland]

£70 Million Boost for United Kingdom Manufacturing
Under a new £70M Government investment, three new Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council centers will focus research efforts in the fields of photonics, regenerative medicine and liquid metals. [Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, England]

Japan’s Science Budget Not as Bad as Feared
Japan’s researchers let loose a sigh of relief on December 25 when the new administration’s first budget revealed only minor changes in science and technology priorities. [Liberal Democratic Party, Japan]

French Research Wins Huge Cash Boost
Universities in France are set to receive an 11 billion Euro windfall from a government initiative intended to create an ‘Ivy League’ of research centers. [Union for a Popular Movement, France]

Post-Election Budget Squeeze May Bring About Cuts in Health Research
Entire fields of health research are likely to be shut down if the next government cuts spending on medical science to reduce Britain’s £178 billion budget deficit. [Labour Party, United Kingdom]

United Kingdom National Stem Cell Network Small Awards Scheme 2009/2010 [UK National Stem Cell Network, United Kingdom]

EuroSyStem Innovative Project Awards: Open Funding Call [EuroSyStem, United Kingdom]

Advisory Committees; Tentative Schedule of Meetings for 2010 [Food and Drug Administration, United States]

The ISSCR Outstanding Young Investigator Award [International Society for Stem Cell Research, United States]

The New York Stem Cell Foundation Fellowship Program [New York Stem Cell Foundation, United States]

JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Foreign Researchers [Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Japan]



EVENTS

Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine World Congress
January 20-21, 2010
San Francisco, United States

Phacilitate Cell and Gene Therapy Forum 2010
January 25-27, 2010
Washington, DC, United States

CHI’s Molecular Medicine Tri-Conference 2010
February 3-5, 2010
San Francisco, United States

SMI’s 2nd Annual Stem Cells Conference 2010
February 15-16, 2010
London, United Kingdom

Keystone Symposia: Stem Cell Differentiation and Dedifferentiation (B4)
February 15-20, 2010
Keystone, United States

5th Annual Stem Cell Summit
February 16, 2010
New York, United States

4th World Congress on Regenerative Medicine
March 12-14, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

SBE’s 2nd International Conference on Stem Cell Engineering
May 2-5, 2010
Boston, United States

16th Annual ISCT meeting
May 23-26, 2010
Philadelphia, United States

ISSCR 8th Annual Meeting
June 16-19, 2010
San Francisco, United States



JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Business Development Europe – Cell Therapy Products (PALL Corporation)

Research & Development Scientist – Pancreatic Cell Biology (STEMCELL Technologies)

Research & Development Scientist – Endothelial Cell Biology (STEMCELL Technologies)

Research & Development Scientist – Epithelial Cell Biology (STEMCELL Technologies)

Data Entry Assistant – Marketing (STEMCELL Technologies)

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