Volume 6.14 | Apr 13

ESC & iPSC News 6.14, April 13, 2011
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
 
TOP STORY

Patients’ Own Cells Yield New Insights into the Biology of Schizophrenia
After a century of studying the causes of schizophrenia the cause of the disorder remains unknown. Now induced pluripotent stem cells generated from schizophrenic patients have brought researchers a step closer to a fundamental understanding of the biological underpinnings of the disease. [Press release from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies discussing online prepublication in Nature]

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SCIENCE NEWS
The Self-Made Eye: Formation of Optic Cup from ES Cells
A breakthrough new report describes how mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells are able to differentiate and assemble into an optic cup, capable of giving rise to a tissue exhibiting the stratified structure characteristic of the retina in vivo. [Press release from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology discussing online prepublication in Nature]

A New Way to Make Reprogrammed Stem Cells
Researchers have devised a totally new and far more efficient way of generating induced pluripotent stem cells. The study eliminates the use of transcription factors and increases efficiency 100-fold. [Press release from the University of Pennsylvania discussing online prepublication in Cell Stem Cell]

Scientists Propose a New Paradigm for Embryonic Stem Cells, Potentially Speeding Up Development of Disease Therapies
Scientists have put forward a novel explanation for the pluripotency of embryonic stem cells. [Press release from the Genome Institute of Singapore discussing online prepublication in Cell Stem Cell]

‘Universal’ Virus-Free Method Turns Blood Cells to Beating Heart Cells
Scientists have developed a simplified, cheaper, all-purpose method they say can be used by scientists around the globe to more safely turn blood cells into heart cells. [Press release from The Johns Hopkins University discussing online prepublication in PLoS ONE]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Self-Organizing Optic-Cup Morphogenesis in Three-Dimensional Culture
Researchers report the dynamic, autonomous formation of the optic cup (retinal primordium) structure from a three-dimensional culture of mouse embryonic stem cell aggregates. [Nature]

Modeling Schizophrenia Using Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
To elucidate the cellular and molecular defects of schizophrenia (SCZD), researchers directly reprogrammed fibroblasts from SCZD patients into human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) and subsequently differentiated these disorder-specific hiPSCs into neurons. [Nature]

Wdr5 Mediates Self-Renewal and Reprogramming via the Embryonic Stem Cell Core Transcriptional Network
Researchers show that WD repeat domain 5 (Wdr5), a core member of the mammalian Trithorax complex, positively correlates with the undifferentiated state and is a regulator of embryonic stem cell self-renewal. [Cell]

Highly Efficient miRNA-Mediated Reprogramming of Mouse and Human Somatic Cells to Pluripotency
Data show that miRNA and Hdac-mediated pathways can cooperate in a powerful way to reprogram somatic cells to pluripotency. [Cell Stem Cell]

A Precarious Balance: Pluripotency Factors as Lineage Specifiers
Researchers propose that pluripotency transcription factors are lineage specifiers that direct commitment to specific fetal lineages. [Cell Stem Cell]

Chemically Defined Conditions for Human iPSC Derivation and Culture
Researchers re-examine the individual components for human embryonic stem cell and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) culture and formulate a cell culture system in which all protein reagents for liquid media, attachment surfaces and splitting are chemically defined. [Nat Methods]

Differentiation of Swine iPSC into Rod Photoreceptors and Their Integration into the Retina
Results demonstrate that swine induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) can differentiate into photoreceptors in culture and these cells can integrate into the damaged swine neural retina thus laying a foundation for future studies using the pig as a model for retinal stem cell transplantation. [Stem Cells]

Conversion of Sox17 into a Pluripotency Reprogramming Factor by Re-Engineering Its Association with Oct4 on DNA
Researchers demonstrate that strategic point mutations that facilitate Sox/Oct4 dimer formation on variant DNA motifs lead to a dramatic swap of the bioactivities of Sox2 and Sox17. [Stem Cells]

Directed Expression of Gata2, Mash1 and Foxa2 Synergize to Induce the Serotonergic Neuron Phenotype During In Vitro Differentiation of Embryonic Stem Cells
The present study demonstrates that the directed expression of specific transcription factors enhances serotonergic neuron differentiation in vitro and highlights the importance of transgene expression at the right stage of embryonic stem cell differentiation to effect the generation of a desired neural subtype. [Stem Cells]

A Universal System for Highly Efficient Cardiac Differentiation of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells That Eliminates Interline Variability
Researchers describe a highly efficient system for differentiation of human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells to the cardiac lineage. [PLoS ONE]

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INDUSTRY NEWS

Cellular Dynamics Raises $30 Million to Expand Its Product Line of Human Stem Cells and Tissue Cells
Cellular Dynamics International, Inc., the world’s only industrial manufacturer of human induced pluripotent stem cells and tissue cells, has closed on a $30 million private equity round. [Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. Press Release]

Cellular Dynamics Licenses Technology from ViaCyte
Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. announced it has strengthened its intellectual property portfolio by licensing patented definitive endoderm differentiation technology from ViaCyte, Inc., a stem cell company focused on diabetes therapy. [Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. Press Release]

MRC-CRM and iCeMS Sign Agreement on Academic Collaboration
The University of Edinburgh’s Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine (MRC-CRM) and Kyoto University Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) signed a memorandum of understanding covering future collaborative research. [MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine Press Release]

New Crop of Taubman Scholars Named; University of Michigan Clinician-Scientists Receive Unrestricted Funding to Work Toward Cures
The second round of Taubman Scholars has been announced at the University of Michigan’s A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute. [PR Newswire]

Top Stem Cell Researcher Leaves Scripps for Bay Area Lab
After spending the last 11 years developing an international reputation for cutting-edge stem cell research at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Sheng Ding has relocated his laboratory to the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Cellectis Strengthens Management Team to Support Stem Cell Activities
Cellectis announced the recruitment of three senior managers to support the development of Ectycell, its subsidiary dedicated to industrial applications of stem cells. [Cellectis Press Release]

New Approach to IVF Embryo Donations Lets People Weigh Decision
People who use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive children often have leftover embryos and must decide whether to store them, dispose of them or possibly donate them for research. A new process developed by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine allows these people to make this decision in the privacy of their own homes — without any interaction with clinic personnel or scientists who might benefit from the research. [Stanford University School of Medicine Press Release]

First Patient to Get Stem Cell Therapy Comes Forward
In the six months since scientists announced they had infused a drug made from human embryonic stem cells into a partially paralyzed patient’s spine, the identity of the recipient has been shrouded in secrecy. Now, a 21-year-old Alabama nursing student who was paralyzed from the chest down in a car crash in September has come forward to identify himself as the volunteer. [The Washington Post]

Announcing the First Stem Cell Translational Journal
AlphaMed Press announces the launch of a major peer-reviewed journal, STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, answering an acknowledged need within the research and clinical communities for comprehensive coverage of stem cell science, stem cell-based regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, stem cell-based predictive toxicology, and cancer stem cell investigation. [AlphaMed Press Press Release]

POLICY NEWS

French Senate Backs Embryonic Stem Cell and Embryo Research
The French Senate voted to explicitly allow research on embryonic stem cells and embryos, amending part of a bill revising the country’s bioethics law. [Senate, France]

Research Survives in 2011 Budget After Earlier Scare
Whew. That’s what officials at U.S. science agencies and science lobbyists are saying this morning after learning the details of the weekend agreement between the White House and Congress on funding the government for the rest of 2011. [Congress, United States]

Two U.S. States Consider ‘Ban’ on Embryonic Stem Cell Research
The American states of Minnesota and Oklahoma are both in the process of passing legislation that will criminalize certain embryonic stem cell research procedures. [States of Minnesota and Oklahoma, United States]

2011 Spending Deal Spares NIH Major Cuts
Just as White House officials promised, the 2011 funding bill agreed to by Congress and the White House last Friday spares biomedical research from major cuts. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Budget Freeze Forces NIH to Slash Electronic Grants Staff
In a sign of grim budget times, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is cutting 20% of the contractors who help run its electronic grants system. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Pilot Studies to Develop and Test Novel, Low- Cost Methods for the Conduct of Clinical Trials (R01) (RFA-HL-12-019) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meeting (FR Doc. 2011-8442) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2011-8933) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meeting (FR Doc. 2011-8927) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2011-8605) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

May 31, 2011: Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee Meeting Announcement [Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, United States]

EVENTS
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February 16, 2012
London, United Kingdom

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