Volume 6.04 | Feb 2

ESC & iPSC News 6.04, February 2, 2011.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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Scripps Research Scientists Convert Skin Cells to Beating Heart Cells 
Scientists have converted adult skin cells directly into beating heart cells efficiently without having to first go through the laborious process of generating embryonic-like stem cells. [Press release from The Scripps Research Institute discussing online prepublication in Nature Cell Biology]



Pluripotent Stem Cells in Translation: Early Decisions
The National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration are collaborating on a series of workshops on moving pluripotent stem cell therapies into the clinic. [Center for Biologics, Evaluation and Research, United States]

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MicroRNA Cocktail Helps Turn Skin Cells into Stem Cells
A team identified several specific microRNAs that are important during reprogramming and exploited them to make the transition from skin cell to induced pluripotent stem cell more efficient. [Press release from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute discussing online prepublication in The EMBO Journal]

State Grants Pay Off With Key Yale, University of Connecticut Stem Cell Finding
Researchers have discovered that one of the key genes in human embryonic stem cell development also enhances stem cell growth and survival. [Press release from Yale University discussing online prepublication in Stem Cells]

Researchers Develop Safer Way to Make Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Researchers have found a better way to create induced pluripotent stem cells from a small blood sample. This new method avoids creating DNA changes that could lead to tumor formation. [Press release from Johns Hopkins Medicine discussing online prepublication in Cell Research]


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Conversion of Mouse Fibroblasts into Cardiomyocytes Using a Direct Reprogramming Strategy
Researchers show that conventional reprogramming towards pluripotency through overexpression of Oct4, Sox2, Klf4 and c-Myc can be shortcut and directed towards cardiogenesis in a fast and efficient manner. [Nat Cell Biol]

Investigating Synapse Formation and Function Using Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Neurons
Scientists describe the establishment of procedures to direct the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells into forebrain neurons that are capable of forming synaptic connections. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Small RNA-Mediated Regulation of iPS Cell Generation
Investigators show that cellular microRNAs regulate induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell generation. [EMBO J]

Genome-wide Studies Reveal that Lin28 Enhances the Translation of Genes Important for Growth and Survival of Human Embryonic Stem Cells
Scientists suggest that Lin28, working in concert with RNA helicase A, enhances the translation of genes important for the growth and survival of human embryonic stem cells. [Stem Cells]

Stage-Specific Signaling Through TGF Beta Family Members and WNT Regulates Patterning and Pancreatic Specification of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells
Researchers elucidated the temporal requirements for TGF beta family members and canonical WNT signaling at these developmental stages and show that the duration of nodal/activin A signaling plays a pivotal role in establishing an appropriate definitive endoderm population for specification to the pancreatic lineage. [Development]

Association of Telomere Length with Authentic Pluripotency of Embryonic Stem/Induced Pluripotent Stem (ES/iPS) Cells
Scientists show that ES cells (ESCs) with long telomeres exhibit authentic developmental pluripotency, as evidenced by generation of complete ESC pups as well as germline-competent chimeras, the most stringent tests available in rodents. [Cell Res]

Efficient Human iPS Cell Derivation by a Non-Integrating Plasmid from Blood Cells with Unique Epigenetic and Gene Expression Signatures
The analysis suggested that newborn cord blood and adult peripheral blood mononuclear cells (MNCs) display unique signatures that are closer to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) than age-matched fibroblasts to iPSCs/ESCs, thus making blood MNCs an attractive cell choice for the generation of integration-free iPSCs. [Cell Res]

Effects of Cryopreservation on the Transcriptome of Human Embryonic Stem Cells After Thawing and Culturing
Investigators studied the effects of cryopreservation on the viability, proliferation potential, and the pluripotency status of human embryonic stem cells by combining cellular readouts and transcriptomics. [Stem Cell Rev]

Comparative Analysis of Human Embryonic Stem Cell and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Hepatocyte-Like Cells Reveals Current Drawbacks and Possible Strategies for Improved Differentiation
Researchers aimed at investigating the differences and similarities at the transcriptional level between hepatocyte-like cells derived from both human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. [Stem Cells Dev]


Kyoto University, iPS Academia Japan, and iPierian Announce Global Licensing and Patent Assignment Agreement
Kyoto University, iPS Academia Japan Inc., and iPierian Inc., announced they have entered into a series of intellectual property agreements creating a unified, worldwide patent estate covering induced pluripotent stem cell technology. [iPierian Inc. Press Release]

CIRM Approves Funding $32 Million to Remove Hurdles to New Stem Cell Therapies
The Governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) approved funding $32 million to 19 research projects intending to create new tools and technologies that overcome barriers to moving stem cell research into clinical trials. [California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Press Release]

CIRM Generating 25,000 Jobs and $200 million in Taxes for California with Grants Awarded So Far- With More to Come
The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) released an independent economic impact study that shows CIRM has already delivered significant financial benefit for the state with its first $1.1 billion in grants creating 25,000 job years and $200 million in new tax revenue through 2014. [California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Press Release]

Stem Cell Agency Governing Board Will Swear in Two New Board Members January 27 Along with Nine Reappointed Members
The Governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) swore two new members and nine members reappointed to second six-year terms at its meeting in Burlingame January 27. [California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Press Release]

Chinese Academy of Sciences Initiates “Trailblazing” Stem Cell Research Project
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced it has initiated a “strategic, trailblazing” research project on stem cells and regenerative medicine. The project mainly aims to remove the bottlenecks China is confronted with in stem cell research, the CAS said in its 2011 work meeting in Beijing. [Chinese Academy of Sciences Press Release]


NIH Reorganization Draws Scrutiny from Congress
Biomedical scientists aren’t alone in questioning a plan by National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Francis Collins to create a new center to spur drug development. Last week, a staffer for a key congressional committee asked NIH and the Department of Health and Human Services for a long list of details about the reorganization, which also entails dissolving an existing center. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2011-2202) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2011-2208) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Office of Biotechnology Activities, Office of Science Policy, Office of the Director (FR Doc. 2011-2022)[National Institutes of Health, United States]

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