Volume 8.16 | Apr 24

ESC & iPSC News 8.16 April 24, 2013
ESC & iPSC News
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TOP STORY
Big Boost in Drug Discovery: New Use for Stem Cells Identifies a Promising Way to Target ALS
Using a new, stem cell-based, drug-screening technology that could reinvent and greatly reduce the cost of developing pharmaceuticals, researchers have found a compound that is more effective in protecting the neurons killed in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) than are two drugs that failed in human clinical trials after large sums were invested in them. [Press release from Harvard University discussing online prepublication in Cell Stem Cell] Press Release | Abstract | Graphical Abstract

Directed Differentiation of Pluripotent Stem Cells - A Cell Stem Cell Poster
PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by impact factor of the journal)

Pluripotent Stem Cell Models of Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome Reveal a Common Mechanism for Pancreatic and Hematopoietic Dysfunction
Investigators created human pluripotent stem cell models of Shwachman-Diamond syndrome (SDS) through knockdown of the Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond syndrome gene in human embryonic stem cells and generation of induced pluripotent stem cell lines from two patients with SDS. [Cell Stem Cell] Abstract

Medial Ganglionic Eminence-Like Cells Derived from Human Embryonic Stem Cells Correct Learning and Memory Deficits
The authors presented a method for differentiating human embryonic stem cells to a nearly uniform population of NKX2.1+ medial ganglionic eminence (MGE)-like progenitor cells. Mice transplanted with MGE-like but not spinal progenitors showed improvements in learning and memory deficits. [Nat Biotechnol] Abstract | Press Release

A Small Molecule Inhibitor of Redox-Regulated Protein Translocation into Mitochondria
One molecule, mitochondrial protein import blockers from the Carla Koehler laboratory (MitoBloCK-6), attenuated the import of Erv1 substrates into yeast mitochondria and inhibited oxidation of translocase of the inner membrane 13 and Cmc1 in in vitro reconstitution assays. MitoBloCK-6 induced apoptosis via cytochrome c release in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) but not in differentiated cells, suggesting an important role for ALR in hESC homeostasis. [Dev Cell] Abstract | Graphical Abstract | Press Release

Autocrine Signaling Based Selection of Combinatorial Antibodies that Transdifferentiate Human Stem Cells
Researchers report the generation of antibody agonists from intracellular combinatorial libraries that transdifferentiate human stem cells. This transdifferentiation by agonist antibodies is different from more commonly used methods because initiation is agenetic. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA] Abstract | Press Release

Single-Molecule Analysis of Combinatorial Epigenomic States in Normal and Tumor Cells
Scientists describe a single-molecule analytical approach that can perform direct detection of multiple epigenetic marks simultaneously and used it to identify mechanisms coordinating placement of three gene silencing marks, trimethylated histone H3 lysine 9, lysine 27 (H3K9me3, H3K27me3), and cytosine methylation (mC), in the normal and cancer genome. They showed that H3K9me3 and mC are present together on individual chromatin fragments in mouse embryonic stem cells and that half of the H3K9me3 marks require mC for their placement. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA] Abstract | Full Article

Max Is a Repressor of Germ Cell-Related Gene Expression in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells
Investigators predicted that there is a mechanism that represses primordial germ cell-related gene expression in embryonic stem cells. They proposed that Max is part of protein complex that acts as a repressor of germ cell-related genes in embryonic stem cells. [Nat Commun] Abstract

Ameloblasts Serum-Free Conditioned Medium: Bone Morphogenic Protein 4-Induced Odontogenic Differentiation of Mouse Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
The authors report a new method to efficiently induce differentiation of mouse induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into the odontogenic lineage. Using ameloblasts serum-free conditioned medium, they successfully generated ameloblast-like cells from mouse iPS cells. [J Tissue Eng Regen Med] Abstract

Rapid and Efficient Directed Differentiation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells into Retinal Pigmented Epithelium
Although protocols to generate retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) from human pluripotent stem cells have become more efficient since the first report in 2004, they are still time-consuming and relatively inefficient. Researchers have found that the addition of defined factors at specific times leads to conversion of approximately 80% of the cells to an RPE phenotype in only 14 days. [Stem Cells Transl Med]
Abstract | Press Release

New: STEMdiff™ Definitive Endoderm Kit For Easy, Standardized hPSC Differentiation

REVIEWS
Going Forward with Genetics: Recent Technological Advances and Forward Genetics in Mice
The authors review the forward genetic approach and its future in the context of recent technological advances, in particular massively parallel DNA sequencing, induced pluripotent stem cells, and haploid embryonic stem cells. [Am J Pathol] Abstract | Full Article

Visit our reviews page to see a complete list of reviews in the ESC & iPSC research field.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

ACT Initiates Higher-Dosage Patient Treatment in European Clinical Trial for Macular Degeneration
Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (ACT) announced treatment of the first patient in the third dosage cohort, and seventh patient overall, in its European Phase I clinical trial for Stargardt’s macular dystrophy using retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The patient was injected with 150,000 hESC-derived RPE cells, as compared with the 100,000-cell dose used in patients of the second cohort. [Advanced Cell Technology, Inc.] Press Release

The Alpha-1 Project Announces $150,000 Commission to Expand Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Lines Created from Alpha-1 Patients
The Alpha-1 Project announced a $150,000 commission to Darrell Kotton, MD, to expand development of iPSC lines created from tissue donated by patients with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1). [The Alpha 1 Project] Press Release

CT Catapult & Loughborough University to Collaborate on Innovative Manufacturing
The Cell Therapy Catapult and Loughborough University have agreed to work together on innovative manufacturing. The two organizations will collaborate to develop robust processes and new manufacturing and delivery techniques, removing the barriers associated with turning cell-based therapies into products, and providing training and skills development. [Cell Therapy Catapult] Press Release

From our sponsor: Gain hands-on training: Culture hPSCs and differentiate to definitive endoderm or neural progenitor cells. View Courses

POLICY NEWS

A Back Seat for Basic Science
With unemployment at a worrisome 7.6% and Congress insistent on deficit reduction, Obama’s budget is cautious. The US$3.8-trillion proposal would undo the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration, but includes just $143 billion for research and development, a mere 1% rise from 2012. The budget reflects not only caution, but also the Obama administration’s emerging attitude towards research: that science needs to be good for something, namely jobs and cures. [US President, United States] Press Release

NSF Peer Review Under Scrutiny by House Science Panel
The National Science Foundation (NSF) may soon be getting some unsolicited advice from Congress on how to improve its vaunted peer-review system. The new chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology floated the idea of having every NSF grant application include a statement of how the research, if funded, "would directly benefit the American people." [House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, United States] Press Release

Romania to Replace National Research Council after Mass Resignation
The Romanian Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport has asked universities to nominate replacements for the 19 members of the National Research Council, Romania's main research funding agency. Council members resigned en masse to protest retroactive cuts in research grants. [Romanian Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and Sport, Romania] Press Release

EVENTS
NEW Hydra IX Summer School on Stem Cell Biology
September 7-14, 2013
Hydra, Greece

Visit our
events page to see a complete list of events in the ESC & iPSC community.
JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Research Scientist (Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry & Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences)

Postdoctoral Positions - Stem Cells and Immunology (University of Connecticut)

Postdoctoral Position - Pluripotent Stem Cell Research (Masaryk University)

Postdoctoral Position - Retroviruses and Gene Transfer Unit (Institut Pasteur, Labex Revive)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow - Ocular Stem Cell (Buck Institute for Research on Aging)

Postdoctoral Research Associate (Queen Mary University of London)

Postdoctoral Position - Developmental and Stem Cell Biology (Washington University School of Medicine)

Postdoctoral Fellow (Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne)


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