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Using geometry, researchers coax human embryonic stem cells to organize themselves

By Sykes24Tracey

20 hours ago Forty-two hours after they began to differentiate, embryonic cells are clearly segregating into endoderm (red), mesoderm (blue) and ectoderm (black). Researchers say the key to achieving this patterning in culture is confining the colonies geometrically. Credit: Brivanlou Lab, The Rockefeller University

About seven days after conception, something remarkable occurs in the clump of cells that will eventually become a new human being. They start to specialize. They take on characteristics that begin to hint at their ultimate fate as part of the skin, brain, muscle or any of the roughly 200 cell types that exist in people, and they start to form distinct layers.

Although scientists have studied this process in animals, and have tried to coax human embryonic stem cells into taking shape by flooding them with chemical signals, until now the process has not been successfully replicated in the lab. But researchers led by Ali Brivanlou, Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor and head of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Molecular Embryology at The Rockefeller University, have done it, and it turns out that the missing ingredient is geometrical, not chemical.

"Understanding what happens in this moment, when individual members of this mass of embryonic stem cells begin to specialize for the very first time and organize themselves into layers, will be a key to harnessing the promise of regenerative medicine," Brivanlou says. "It brings us closer to the possibility of replacement organs grown in petri dishes and wounds that can be swiftly healed."

In the uterus, human embryonic stem cells receive chemical cues from the surrounding tissue that signal them to begin forming layersa process called gastrulation. Cells in the center begin to form ectoderm, the brain and skin of the embryo, while those migrating to the outside become mesoderm and endoderm, destined to become muscle and blood and many of the major organs, respectively.

Brivanlou and his colleagues, including postdocs Aryeh Warmflash and Benoit Sorre as well as Eric Siggia, Viola Ward Brinning and Elbert Calhoun Brinning Professor and head of the Laboratory of Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics, confined human embryonic stem cells originally derived at Rockefeller to tiny circular patterns on glass plates that had been chemically treated to form "micropatterns" that prevent the colonies from expanding outside a specific radius. When the researchers introduced chemical signals spurring the cells to begin gastrulation, they found the colonies that were geometrically confined in this way proceeded to form endoderm, mesoderm and ectoderm and began to organize themselves just as they would have under natural conditions. Cells that were not confined did not.

By monitoring specific molecular pathways the human cells use to communicate with one another to form patterns during gastrulationsomething that was not previously possible because of the lack of a suitable laboratory modelthe researchers also learned how specific inhibitory signals generated in response to the initial chemical cues function to prevent the cells within a colony from all following the same developmental path.

The research was published June 29 in Nature Methods.

"At the fundamental level, what we have developed is a new model to explore how human embryonic stem cells first differentiate into separate populations with a very reproducible spatial order just as in an embryo," says Warmflash. "We can now follow individual cells in real time in order to find out what makes them specialize, and we can begin to ask questions about the underlying genetics of this process."

The research also has direct implications for biologists working to create "pure" populations of specific cells, or engineered tissues consisting of multiple cell types, for use in medical treatments. "These cells have a powerful intrinsic tendency to form patterns as they develop," Warmflash says. "Varying the geometry of the colonies may turn out to be an important tool that can be used to guide stem cells to form specific cell types or tissues."

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NYSCF and eagle-i Network co-develop iPS cell database

By Sykes24Tracey

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

19-Jun-2014

Contact: David McKeon DMcKeon@nyscf.org 212-365-7440 New York Stem Cell Foundation

NEW YORK, NY (June 18, 2014) Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS) hold enormous potential to unravel the mechanisms of human illness and to develop new therapeutics. Until now, there has been no easily searchable database for investigators to find and share these important resources. This has been a major obstacle to the implementation of iPS technology.

Recognizing the research potential of shared iPS cell lines, the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute and the eagle-i Network will make NYSCF iPS cell lines and related information available to the public on a user-friendly, web-based, searchable database. The database (called the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell database) will help scientists find valuable resources, enabling collaboration, preventing duplicative work, and ultimately accelerating research.

NYSCF and eagle-i will establish an open access repository of information on large numbers of iPS cell lines. eagle-i will display information as linked open data, enabling discovery by any third party search engine. NYSCF derives hundreds of iPS cell lines from skin samples of patients with a wide variety of diseases using the NYSCF Global Stem Cell ArrayTM technology, an automated platform for high-throughput iPS cell production and differentiation. Scientists will be able to search for NYSCF iPS cell lines under several categories including disease, how the cells were reprogrammed, and patient age at the time the sample was collected.

"This important tool should have significant impact on the science community," said Lee Nadler, principal investigator of Harvard Catalyst and eagle-i. "I'm thrilled that we will contribute to this partnership by creating a user-friendly, searchable database for the iPS cell lines that NYSCF has produced, enabling researchers to search for available lines on an open access platform. The opportunities this will create are tremendous."

"We were very excited to develop this resource for stem cell scientists," said Susan L. Solomon, NYSCF Chief Executive Officer. "It is important to have open access to available resources and this collaboration with eagle-i is a prime example of interdisciplinary teams working together to provide this for the scientific community."

The alpha version of the website will be presented during the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) Annual Conference in Vancouver, Canada in June 2014. Future versions of the database will include genomic and other clinical and cellular phenotype information, including a mechanism that will allow scientists to order lines directly from the website. Soon, NYSCF and eagle-i will invite other institutions from around the world to join this collaboration and contribute their iPS cell lines to the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell database, creating an even more robust research tool.

At the ISSCR Conference this week, Richard V. Pearse, PhD, from eagle-i will be at poster F-2245 during poster session III and NYSCF will be at booth 918 with information pertaining to this new initiative.

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Stem cell transplantation for severe sclerosis associated with improved long-term survival

By Dr. Matthew Watson

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

24-Jun-2014

Contact: Jacob M. van Laar j.m.vanlaar@umcutrecht.nl The JAMA Network Journals

Among patients with a severe, life-threatening type of sclerosis, treatment with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), compared to intravenous infusion of the chemotherapeutic drug cyclophosphamide, was associated with an increased treatment-related risk of death in the first year, but better long-term survival, according to a study in the June 25 issue of JAMA.

Systemic sclerosis is an autoimmune connective tissue disease characterized by vasculopathy (a disorder of the blood vessels), low-grade inflammation, and fibrosis (development of excess fibrous connective tissue) in skin and internal organs. Previously, small studies have shown that systemic sclerosis is responsive to treatment with autologous HSCT, although it has been unclear whether HSCT improves survival, according to background information in the article. For this study, autologous HSCT involved a multistep process beginning with infusion of high doses of cyclophosphamide and an antibody against immune cells, followed by reinfusion of the patient's own stem cells that had been previously collected from blood and purified.

Jacob M. van Laar, M.D., Ph.D., of the University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands and Dominique Farge M.D., Ph.D, of the Assistance Publique - Hopitaux de Paris, Paris 7 Diderot University, France, and colleagues randomly assigned 156 patients with early diffuse cutaneous (widespread skin involvement) systemic sclerosis to receive HSCT (n = 79) or cyclophosphamide (n = 77; 12 monthly infusions). The phase 3 clinical trial was conducted in 10 countries at 29 centers; patients were recruited from March 2001 to October 2009 and followed up until October 2013.

During a median follow-up of 5.8 years, 53 adverse events occurred: 22 in the HSCT group (19 deaths and 3 irreversible organ failures) and 31 in the control group (23 deaths and 8 irreversible organ failures). Patients treated with HSCT experienced more adverse events (including death) in the first year but had better long-term event-free survival than those treated with cyclophosphamide.

Patients in the HCST group experienced higher mortality in the first year but had better long-term overall survival than those treated with cyclophosphamide. During year 1 there were 11 deaths (13.9 percent, including 8 treatment-related deaths) in the HSCT group vs 7 (9.1 percent, no treatment-related deaths) in the control group. After year 2 of follow-up, there were 12 deaths (15.2 percent) in the HSCT group vs 13 (16.9 percent) in the control group. After 4 years of follow-up, there were 13 deaths (16.5 percent) in the HSCT group vs 20 (26.0 percent) in the control group.

The authors add that HSCT was also more effective than intravenous cyclophosphamide on measures evaluating skin, functional ability, quality of life, and lung function, consistent with previous studies.

"Among patients with early diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis, HSCT was associated with increased treatment-related mortality in the first year after treatment. However, HCST conferred a significant long-term event-free survival benefit," the authors conclude.

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FIbrocell Science Announces Exclusive Technology License Agreements with UCLA to Advance the Development of …

By raymumme

EXTON, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fibrocell Science, Inc., (NYSE MKT:FCSC), an autologous cell therapy company primarily focused on developing first-in-class treatments for rare and serious skin and connective tissue diseases with high unmet medical needs, announced today that it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with The Regents of the University of California. Under the agreement, Fibrocell acquired the rights to commercially apply patented discoveries and technologies resulting from the ongoing scientific collaboration between the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) and Fibrocell Science.

The technologies from the UCLA collaboration and exclusive license agreements enable Fibrocell to expand its proprietary Personalized Biologics platform which uses human fibroblasts and stem cells from skin to create localized therapies that are compatible with the unique biology of each patient. Specifically, the newly licensed patents and technologies relate to two advancements in the therapeutic application of cell therapies:

The technologies from these licenses further strengthen Fibrocells rich development platform, said David Pernock, chairman and chief executive officer of Fibrocell. These potentially transformational technologies offer partnering opportunities for Fibrocell.

The license agreements build upon an existing research collaboration between Fibrocell and UCLA that has already yielded discoveries and technologies related to stem cells and regenerative cells in human skin. Such research is led by James A. Byrne, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor in UCLAs Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research.

About Fibrocell Science, Inc.

Fibrocell Science, Inc. (NYSE MKT:FCSC) is an autologous cell therapy company primarily focused on developing first-in-class treatments for rare and serious skin and connective tissue diseases with high unmet medical needs. Based on its proprietary autologous fibroblast technology, Fibrocell is pursuing breakthrough medical applications of azficel-T for restrictive burn scarring and vocal cord scarring. The companys collaboration with Intrexon Corporation (NYSE:XON), a leader in synthetic biology, includes using genetically-modified fibroblasts for treating rare and serious skin and connective tissue diseases for which there are no currently approved products. For additional information, visit http://www.fibrocellscience.com.

About UCLA

UCLAis Californias largest university, with an enrollment of more than 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the universitys 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 337 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Seven alumni and six faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains, and our officers and representatives may from time to time make, statements that are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Examples of forward-looking statements include, among others, statements we make regarding (i) our ability to develop breakthrough therapies for the treatment of skin and connective tissues diseases and (ii) our ability to successfully leverage our relationship with UCLA to expand our proprietary Personalized Biologics platform. These forward-looking statements rely on a number of assumptions concerning future events and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are outside of Fibrocell Sciences control. Important factors that could cause our actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements include, among others, the following: (i) uncertainties relating to the initiation and completion of clinical trials; (ii) whether clinical trial results will validate and support the safety and efficacy of azficel-T; and (iii) our ability to establish additional strategic partnerships, as well as those set forth under the caption Item 1A. Risk Factors in Fibrocell Sciences most recent Form 10-K filing, as updated in Item 1A. Risk Factors in Fibrocell Sciences most recent Form 10-Q filing. Any forward-looking statement made by us in this press release is based only on information currently available to us and speaks only as of the date on which it is made. In addition, Fibrocell Science operates in a highly competitive and rapidly changing environment, and new risks may arise. Accordingly, you should not place any reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results. Fibrocell Science disclaims any intention to, and undertakes no obligation to, update or revise any forward-looking statement. You are also urged to carefully review and consider the various disclosures in Fibrocell Sciences most recent annual report on Form 10-K, our most recent Form 10-Q as well as other public filings with the SEC since the filing of Fibrocell Sciences most recent annual report.

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Stem Cell Transplantation For Severe Sclerosis Linked With Improved Long-term Survival

By Sykes24Tracey

Contact Information

Available for logged-in reporters only

Newswise Among patients with a severe, life-threatening type of sclerosis, treatment with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), compared to intravenous infusion of the chemotherapeutic drug cyclophosphamide, was associated with an increased treatment-related risk of death in the first year, but better long-term survival, according to a study in the June 25 issue of JAMA.

Systemic sclerosis is an autoimmune connective tissue disease characterized by vasculopathy (a disorder of the blood vessels), low-grade inflammation, and fibrosis (development of excess fibrous connective tissue) in skin and internal organs. Previously, small studies have shown that systemic sclerosis is responsive to treatment with autologous HSCT, although it has been unclear whether HSCT improves survival, according to background information in the article. For this study, autologous HSCT involved a multistep process beginning with infusion of high doses of cyclophosphamide and an antibody against immune cells, followed by reinfusion of the patient's own stem cells that had been previously collected from blood and purified.

Jacob M. van Laar, M.D., Ph.D., of the University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands and Dominique Farge M.D., Ph.D, of the Assistance Publique - Hopitaux de Paris, Paris 7 Diderot University, France, and colleagues randomly assigned 156 patients with early diffuse cutaneous (widespread skin involvement) systemic sclerosis to receive HSCT (n = 79) or cyclophosphamide (n = 77; 12 monthly infusions). The phase 3 clinical trial was conducted in 10 countries at 29 centers; patients were recruited from March 2001 to October 2009 and followed up until October 2013.

During a median follow-up of 5.8 years, 53 adverse events occurred: 22 in the HSCT group (19 deaths and 3 irreversible organ failures) and 31 in the control group (23 deaths and 8 irreversible organ failures). Patients treated with HSCT experienced more adverse events (including death) in the first year but had better long-term event-free survival than those treated with cyclophosphamide.

Patients in the HCST group experienced higher mortality in the first year but had better long-term overall survival than those treated with cyclophosphamide. During year 1 there were 11 deaths (13.9 percent, including 8 treatment-related deaths) in the HSCT group vs 7 (9.1 percent, no treatment-related deaths) in the control group. After year 2 of follow-up, there were 12 deaths (15.2 percent) in the HSCT group vs 13 (16.9 percent) in the control group. After 4 years of follow-up, there were 13 deaths (16.5 percent) in the HSCT group vs 20 (26.0 percent) in the control group.

The authors add that HSCT was also more effective than intravenous cyclophosphamide on measures evaluating skin, functional ability, quality of life, and lung function, consistent with previous studies.

Among patients with early diffuse cutaneous systemic sclerosis, HSCT was associated with increased treatment-related mortality in the first year after treatment. However, HCST conferred a significant long-term event-free survival benefit, the authors conclude. (doi:10.1001/jama.2014.6368; Available pre-embargo to the media at http://media.jamanetwork.com)

Editors Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

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Many bodies prompt stem cells to change

By Dr. Matthew Watson

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:

16-Jun-2014

Contact: David Ruth david@rice.edu 713-348-6327 Rice University

HOUSTON (June 16, 2014) How does a stem cell decide what path to take? In a way, it's up to the wisdom of the crowd.

The DNA in a pluripotent stem cell is bombarded with waves of proteins whose ebb and flow nudge the cell toward becoming blood, bone, skin or organs. A new theory by scientists at Rice University shows the cell's journey is neither a simple step-by-step process nor all random.

Theoretical biologist Peter Wolynes and postdoctoral fellow Bin Zhang set out to create a mathematical tool to analyze large, realistic gene networks. As a bonus, their open-access study to be published this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences helped them understand that the process by which stem cells differentiate is a many-body problem.

"Many-body" refers to physical systems that involve interactions between large numbers of particles. Scientists assume these many bodies conspire to have a function in every system, but the "problem" is figuring out just what that function is. In the new work, these bodies consist not only of the thousands of proteins expressed by embryonic stem cells but also DNA binding sites that lead to feedback loops and other "attractors" that prompt the cell to move from one steady state to the next until it reaches a final configuration.

To test their tool, the researchers looked at the roles of eight key proteins and how they rise and fall in number, bind and unbind to DNA and degrade during stem cell differentiation. Though the interactions may not always follow a precise path, their general pattern inevitably leads to the desired result for the same reason a strand of amino acids will inevitably fold into the proper protein: because the landscape dictates that it be so.

Wolynes called the new work a "stylized," simplified model meant to give a general but accurate overview of how cell networks function. It's based on a theory he formed in 2003 with Masaki Sasai of Nagoya University but now takes into account the fact that not one but many genes can be responsible for even a single decision in a cellular process.

"This is what Bin figured out, that one could generalize our 2003 model to be much more realistic about how several different proteins bind to DNA in order to turn it on or off," Wolynes said.

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The Discovery of a Unique Skincare System Which Acts as Food for the Skin and Absorb Immediately Reducing the …

By daniellenierenberg

Stratford, CT (PRWEB) June 24, 2014

Consumers should be aware of four things before buying skin care which are the ingredients, the formulation and the science to support the claims. The final thing they should notice are the results.

It had been several years since the anti-aging category had skyrocketed. Women are realizing that they can indeed skip the invasive procedures and reverse the signs of premature ageing skin with the help of a few bottles and jars. Theres just one catch, theyre just not bottles and jars; its Innarah. Innarah is the skin care collection that will change the way women feel about their skin.

Innarah is the first ever formulated skin care that works with the skins immune system.

Mr. Manzoor H. Jaffery, CEO Innarah Inc. has formulated a unique technology known as biofermentation. Mr. Jaffery perfected these fermented, anti-aging formulas and signature VenoDefense collection, which replicates the effects of snake venom using a botanical base with cutting edge ingredients such as Elk Antler Velvet, Ormus Gold, Plant Stem Cells and Marine Phytoplankton.

After being dissatisfied with so many skin care products on the market, Mr. Jaffery wanted something that really worked. Jaffery developed a process called Bioferm that is modelled on the ancient alchemic process called Nigredo, whose sole purpose is to transform the life force within matter. This process is actually different from other product formulations where the trick is their blending process. So, in essence, because Innarahs ingredients are fermented, there is no danger of the ingredients going through an oxidation process; plus, the result is a much more powerful cream.

As Jaffery explains, The ingredients are powerful, just like raw food. It helps with the skins own immune system. Many might dismiss this as hogwash, but listen to the science behind this for a bit. Because the skin is the largest organ in the body, and is the first line of defense in the immune system, its imperative to help protect it. This is why people recommend to eat daily fruits and vegetables.

Now, how can a skin care cream help with the immune system? It all has to do with the reticulation of Langerhans Cells, which are white blood cells generated in the bone marrow, Jaffery goes on to say. When they arrive at the epidermis, they develop small legs or dendrites, and automatically generate an immune response to the skin when they come into contact with ingredients they dont recognize. But ingredients that have been through the biofermentation process are readily accepted by these cells, so in essence Innarah acts as a bio catalyst.

Innarah is one of the few companies that offers an Oxygenated Crme that helps the healing of adult acne, cold sores, hyperpigmentation and other skin issues. Using Innarah products also aid the skin by diffusing and removing under eye puffiness and inflammation.

Innarah is for any skin color or gender and is recommended for people between 25-85 years old. Innarah is for that glow from-within associated with youth.

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BIO Convention Puts Spotlight On San Diego Stem-Cell Research

By daniellenierenberg

San Diego is buzzing about biotech this week: The BIO International Convention is in town at the San Diego Convention Center. While the conference has drawn big names like entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as its keynote speakers, it's not just the guests who are making headlines.

Companies are announcing new ventures and clinical trials on a wide range of bio-tech topics, including regenerative medicine and stem cells.

A popular method now being used by stem cell researchers is known as "disease in a dish." The process uses a patient's own skin cells and manipulates them into stem cells. The cells are then tested with drug combinations right in the Petri dish to determine if they might assist with a condition or disease. But even though these cells, known as IPS cells, are not controversial embryonic cells, ethical questions about their use remain.

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New tumor-targeting agent images and treats variety of cancers

By JoanneRUSSELL25

Madison, Wisconsin - Scientists at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC) report that a new class of tumor-targeting agents can seek out and find dozens of solid tumors, even illuminating brain cancer stem cells that resist current treatments.

Whats more, years of animal studies and early human clinical trials show that this tumor-targeting alkylphosphocholine (APC) molecule can deliver two types of payloads directly to cancer cells: a radioactive or fluorescent imaging label, or a radioactive medicine that binds and kills cancer cells.

This series of images shows how the alkylphosphocholine (APC) molecule targets and illuminates cancer cells.

The results are featured in todays issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine with the journals cover illustration and a podcast.

The APC targeting molecule was created to exploit a weakness shared by tumors as diverse as breast, brain, colorectal, lung, prostate and skin cancers. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells lack the enzymes to metabolize APC and similar phospholipid ethers that merge with cell membranes.

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New tumor-targeting agent images and treats variety of cancers

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Stem-cell advances may quell ethics debate

By NEVAGiles23

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Robert Waddell says he's glad the stem cells that healed him came from "a guy who was 50 years old" and not a human embryo.

As a Catholic, Waddell opposes the destruction of embryos and didn't want to rely on embryonic stem cells to cure his kidney disease. But he avoided this moral dilemma by getting bone marrow stem cells from a friend who donated a kidney as part of a University of Louisville study.

"It has nothing to do with embryonic stem cells," said Waddell, a 47-year-old father of four. "That made it a lot easier."

Recent strides in stem-cell research show adult stem cells to be ever-more-promising, many scientists say, quelling the controversy steeped in faith and science that has long surrounded embryonic stem cells.

In fact, University of Louisville researcher Scott Whittemore said the debate is almost moot.

"Realistically, (many scientists don't use) the types of stem cells that are so problematic anymore," he said, adding that adult stem cells can now be reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells. "The field has moved so fast."

In addition to these genetically reprogrammed adult cells - known as induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells - scientists are on the cusp of being able to turn one type of cell into another in the body without using stem cells at all. They shared some of the latest research last week at the annual International Society for Stem Cell Research in Vancouver.

"IPS cells overcame the main ethical issues," namely the use of embryos some Americans consider sacred human life, said Brett Spear, a professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the University of Kentucky who uses iPS cells to model liver disease.

But other scientists argue that embryonic stem cell research remains important.

Dr. George Daley, director of the stem cell transplant program at Boston Children's Hospital and past president of the research society, said embryonic cells are a tool in the search for cures.

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Shining Light on Madness

By Dr. Matthew Watson

At Novartiss research lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a large incubator-like piece of equipment is helping give birth to a new era of psychiatric drug discovery. Inside it, bathed in soft light, lab plates hold living human stem cells; robotic arms systematically squirt nurturing compounds into the plates. Thanks to a series of techniques perfected over the last few years in labs around the world, such stem cellscapable of developing into specialized cell typescan now be created from skin cells. When stem cells derived from people with, say, autism or schizophrenia are grown inside the incubator, Novartis researchers can nudge them to develop into functioning brain cells by precisely varying the chemicals in the cell cultures.

Theyre not exactly creating schizophrenic or autistic neurons, because the cells arent working within the circuitry of the brain, but for drug-discovery purposes its the next best thing. For the first time, researchers have a way to directly examine in molecular detail whats going wrong in the brain cells of patients with these illnesses. And, critically for the pharmaceutical company, there is now a reliable method of screening for drugs that might help. Do the neurons look different from normal ones? Is there a flaw in the way they form connections? Could drugs possibly correct the abnormalities? The answer to each of these questions is a very preliminary yes.

The technique is so promising that Novartis has resumed trying to discover new psychiatric drugs after essentially abandoning the quest. Whats more, its been introduced at a time when knowledge about the genetics behind brain disorders is expanding rapidly and other new tools, including optogenetics and more precise genome editing (see Neurosciences New Toolbox), are enabling neuroscientists to probe the brain directly. All these developments offer renewed hope that science could finally deliver more effective treatments for the millions of people beset by devastating brain disorders.

A revival in psychiatric drug development is badly needed: there hasnt been a breakthrough medicine for any of the common mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or severe depression, in roughly 50 years. From the late 1940s through the 1960s, a series of serendipitous discoveries, beginning with the finding that lithium could help bipolar patients, transformed the treatment of the mentally ill. It became possible to quiet the hallucinations and delusions of schizophrenia and offer a drug to the severely depressed. The sudden availability of pharmacological relief transformed psychiatry and played a role in closing down many of the mammoth mental hospitals of the era. But then, almost as suddenly as it had started, the revolution stalled.

Many of the drugs discovered in the 1950s and 1960s are still the most effective treatments available for schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and depression. But while these medications have improved the lives of some patients, they are ineffective for others, and they are woefully inadequate in treating many of the worst symptoms. Whats more, the drugs can have severe side effects.

Take schizophrenia, for example. Existing antipsychotic drugs can make the hallucinations and delusions disappear, but they dont improve the so-called negative symptomsthe disruption of emotions such as pleasure, which can leave people uninterested in communicating or even in living. Existing drugs also have no effect on the way schizophrenia can impair concentration, decision-making, and working memory (critical in such tasks as language comprehension). These debilitating cognitive problems make it impossible for people to work and difficult for them even to make the seemingly simple logical choices involved in everyday life. Insidiously, such symptoms can strike high-performing individuals, often in their late teens. People dont understand, says Guoping Feng, a professor of neuroscience at MIT who studies the neural basis of psychiatric disorders. They ask, once a patient is given antipsychotic medicine, Why cant you go to work? But [those with schizophrenia] cant work because they dont have cognitive functions, they dont have normal executive functions. And there are no drugs for this. On top of that are the side effects of antipsychotic medicines, which can include Parkinsons-like movement disorders, dramatic weight gain, or a potentially deadly loss of white blood cells. In short, the illness destroys many patients lives.

We were led down a path that said depression is about being a quart low in serotonin, and schizophrenia means you have a bit too much dopamine on board. But that just isnt how the brain works. The brain isnt a bowl of soup.

Finally, many people with brain disorders are simply not helped at all by available drugs. Antidepressants work well for some people but do nothing for many others, and there are no effective drug treatments for the social disabilities or repetitive behaviors caused by autism.

Overall, neuropsychiatric illness is a leading cause of disability. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Rockville, Maryland, 26 percent of American adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. Severe depression, the most common of these disorders, is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for individuals between 15 and 44. Around 1 percent of the American population suffers from schizophrenia; one in 68 American children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

Though the need for better treatments is unquestionable, drug companies had until very recently simply run out of good ideas. The drugs developed in the 1950s and 1960s were discovered by accident, and no one knew how or why they worked. In the subsequent decades, drug researchers reverse-engineered the medications to identify the brain molecules that the drugs acted on, such as dopamine and serotonin. In retrospect, however, scientists now realize that while tweaking the levels of these chemicals addressed some symptoms of psychiatric disorders, it was a crude strategy that ignored the biological mechanisms underlying the illnesses.

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Canadian Patent for Adipose Stem Cells Issued Under Vet-Stem License

By JoanneRUSSELL25

Poway, CA (PRWEB) June 20, 2014

Vet-Stem, Inc. announced that another patent has issued under its exclusive worldwide license with Artecel, Inc. and with The University of California. This patent covers compositions of adipose tissue-derived stem cells that can differentiate into many types of tissues include cartilage, bone, nerve, kidney, heart and skin. This patent will provide coverage for the on-going commercial and development programs at Vet-Stem.

This new patent adds to the other patents in the Vet-Stem portfolio that cover compositions and methods of production of regenerative cells from adipose tissue for many diseases in humans and animals. Vet-Stem has exclusive worldwide rights for veterinary use of these patents (over 50 issued and 70 pending patents) which improves the companys intellectual property position in this rapidly developing field.

As the first company in the United States to provide an adipose-derived stem cell service to veterinarians for their patients, Vet-Stem, Inc. pioneered the use of regenerative stem cells in veterinary medicine. In the last decade over 10,000 animals including horses, dogs, cats, and some exotics have been treated using Vet-Stems services.

Intellectual property rights are key assets in these markets and our investments in the area over the last decade have created tremendous value for our shareholders, said Robert Harman, DVM, MPVM, CEO and Founder of Vet-Stem. We need to do everything possible to protect and grow the market that we are creating in Regenerative Veterinary Medicine by providing the highest quality control in the industry. The value of this technology has increased greatly since the founding of the company in 2002 by providing clear evidence of the therapeutic activity and safety of these stem cells.

Vet-Stem researchers have been authors on 11 peer-reviewed papers including the first blinded, controlled, multicenter study of adipose-derived stem cells for chronic osteoarthritis in the canine hip joint, and the first multicenter clinical study of adipose-derived stem cells for chronic osteoarthritis in the canine elbow. Vet-Stem is actively investigating stem cell therapy for immune-mediated and inflammatory disease, as well as organ disease and failure.

About Vet-Stem, Inc. Vet-Stem, Inc. was formed in 2002 to bring regenerative medicine to the veterinary profession. The privately held company is working to develop therapies in veterinary medicine that apply regenerative technologies while utilizing the natural healing properties inherent in all animals. The company holds exclusive licenses to over 50 patents including world-wide veterinary rights for use of adipose derived stem cells. For more on Vet-Stem, Inc. and Veterinary Regenerative Medicine visit http://www.vet-stem.com or call 858-748-2004.

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Canadian Patent for Adipose Stem Cells Issued Under Vet-Stem License

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Can enough money buy you eternal youth?

By Sykes24Tracey

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

No need to go that far.

It turns out, the best kind of anti-aging treatment is inside one's own body, and the rich are taking advantage of it, exploring the latest research in new technologies, genome mapping and stem cell treatments.

Among them is Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison, a large investor of the Ellison Medical Foundation, which supports research exploring the biology that underlies aging and age-related diseases. And there's billionaire Peter Nygrd, who says he wants to live forever (or die trying), and has suggested he's found the keys to immortality in stem cell research.

Some doctors agree that stem cells are a key part of chasing youth.

"If you're a wealthy guy and haven't stored your stem cells, I think you're a total idiot," said Dr. Lionel Bissoon, a New York City physician who sees a number of stressed out, wealthy patients.

Related: It's expensive being rich

They usually come to him with similar problems: "Fatigue, belly fat, erectile dysfunction, tiring very quickly ... all very common with my patients from Wall Street," Bissoon said. The short-term solution to those ailments, he says, is testosterone replacement -- which is relatively affordable at a few hundred dollars a pop -- and IV nutrition.

For the long term he recommends stem cell storage, which works as a sort of rainy day insurance. The cells are extracted, preferably when the patient is on the younger side -- around 30 is said to be a good age -- and can then be used to boost an immune system or help to rebuild damaged organs later.

Dr. Dipnarine Maharaj stores cells at his South Florida Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Institute in Boynton Beach, Fla.

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Stemologica – Video

By daniellenierenberg


Stemologica
Researchers have verified that when included in our skin creams, the Uttwiler Sptlauber Swiss apple stem cells will communicate with you have skin's stem ce...

By: Jordan Kaleb

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Stemologica - Video

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H-E-B promotes store brand skin care line

By raymumme

H-E-B's private label skin care line is the retailers Beauty Pick of the Month.

The formula for EverVescence by H-E-B includes Uttwiler Spatlauber Swiss Apples, which contain stem cells that help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and tired skin.

The line includes: Redefining Eye Cream, Redefining Face Serum and Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15.

As the beauty pick of the month, the line is promoted on heb.com and social media.

The Beauty Pick of the Month is also reviewed by members of H-E-B's beauty panel, which includes H-E-B's employees as well as beauty bloggers.

Among the reviews:

"The eye cream is like a spa treatment with a cooling effect that sinks in and feels fabulous, wrote "Cheryl," online editor for heb.com. Now I can pick up my skincare products at my HEB.

Meanwhile, Liz, H-E-Bs digital marketing manager, said she would recommend all three items to others:

"I used all three as directed and found my skin was softer, she said. The smell was light and not unpleasant like other products I have tried. The products did not irritate my sensitive skin.

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H-E-B promotes store brand skin care line

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New Stem Cell Based Treatment for COPD; Nebulized Pure PRP System Uses Blood Growth Factors That Can Trigger Healing …

By raymumme

Sarasota, FL (PRWEB) June 12, 2014

Nebulized Pure PRP may offer COPD sufferers a less expensive and an effective alternative to stem cell therapy. When normal injury occurs, platelets are stimulated to release growth factors, cytokines and other immune system components in what is called the inflammatory phase of healing. In the lungs, platelets can adhere to injured or inflamed endothelial cells where they start the healing process. It is believed that by increasing the number of platelets in the lungs through this method, it is possible to decrease inflammation and accelerate the healing process in the lungs. Platelets are vehicles for the delivery of growth factors (PDGF, TGF-, IGF, EGF, VEGF) that induce proliferation of fibroblasts, osteoblasts and endothelial cells, promoting and accelerating healing of hard and soft tissues.

Autologous Platelet Rich Plasma also contains fibrin, fibronectin and vitronectin that act as cell adhesion molecules for lung epithelial migration. Autologous Platelet Rich Plasma treatment has been evaluated in various medical disciplines including orthopaedics, wound healing, neurosurgery, dentistry as well as cosmetic, plastic and cardiothoracic surgery. Nebulized Pure PRP treatment holds much promise and is being researched for its applications.

This new medical advance can bring effective and affordable healthcare to many patients with COPD. It is also attractive because the patients own blood is used thus, limiting the potential for disease transmission.

Our key product differentiation is to enable the Pure PRP treatment to be applied to patients who are suffering from COPD. COPD is the most dangerous disease in the elderly, affecting more than 200 million people across the globe. COPD is considered to be the cause of about 3 million deaths annually. This is a life-threatening disease caused by many reasons such as smoking, pollution, dust, irritants, genetic disorders, etc. It is associated with the excess production of sputum and an inflammation which obstructs the airways and results in breathing problems.

Though there is no cure for COPD, the condition can be controlled with the help of treatments. Stem cell therapy which has proved to be one of the most successful treatments for many chronic health conditions like heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, etc., has given a ray of hope in favor of COPD. Stem cells are known for their regenerative properties which help in the development of the tissues and blood cells. These cells are of two types: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can be derived from blastocyst which is a type of embryo; whereas adult stem cells are found in the bone marrow, skin, umbilical cord, placenta and many other tissues. Embryonic stem cells are derived and are grown in cell culture for research and development. But adult stem cells, once removed from the body, divide with great difficulty which makes the treatment difficult to perform. The stem cells are either from the person itself who needs it which is known as autologous stem cell or they can be received from a donor which is known as allogeneic stem cell.

Cells donated by the donor may or may not be accepted by the bodys immune system. Hence, using ones own stem cells reduces the chances of rejection. In COPD, the tissues and cells of the lungs are destroyed, which causes various types of complications. Hence, with the help of stem cell therapy, the destroyed or damaged cells can be regenerated and new lung tissues can be formed. According to the procedure followed by the International Stem Cell Institute (ISCI); San Diego, California, adipose tissue is removed from the patient and is processed with a combination of platelet rich plasma which contains growth factors that help in the process of cell multiplication and development. This helps in COPD treatment as whenever the lungs need repair, about 80% of the stem cells reach the repairing site through the circulatory system. When the blood passes through the lungs, stem cells get trapped in the space where there is damage. The stem cells then start multiplying and repairing the tissue. The recovery does not take place immediately, but improvement can be noticed in 3 to 6 months. It helps in the suppression of inflammation, improves breathing and cures many pulmonary complications. Our Nebulized Pure PRP System aims to support this proposition to treat COPD patients. Treatments run about $1,000 and insurance does not currently pay for this treatment.

Contact our office at (941) 330-8553 to find out more about how Nebulized Pure PRP can offer you relief from symptoms of COPD. Also we are at http://advancedwellness.us/blog2/nebulized-platelet-rich-plasma-prp-for-asthma-copd-and-systemic-growth-effects-in-athletics/

Click to learn more about this treatment.

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New Stem Cell Based Treatment for COPD; Nebulized Pure PRP System Uses Blood Growth Factors That Can Trigger Healing ...

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Eye in a Dish: Researchers Make Retina From Stem Cells

By Dr. Matthew Watson

NBC News -- Researchers have grown part of an eye in a lab dish, using a type of stem cell made from a piece of skin.

They said the little retina started growing and developing on its own an important step towards creating custom-tailored organs in the lab.

We have basically created a miniature human retina in a dish that not only has the architectural organization of the retina but also has the ability to sense light," said M. Valeria Canto-Soler, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The team used cells called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, which are immature stem cells whose powers resemble those of embryonic stem cells they can morph into any cell type in the body.

Theyre made by tricking an ordinary cell, like a skin cell, into reverting back into embryonic mode. Then the researchers activate genes to get the cell to redirect itself into forming the desired cells in this case cells of the retina.

To the surprise of the researchers, the cells started developing as if they were in a growing human embryo.

"We knew that a 3-D cellular structure was necessary if we wanted to reproduce functional characteristics of the retina, but when we began this work, we didn't think stem cells would be able to build up a retina almost on their own. In our system, somehow the cells knew what to do, Canto-Soler said in a statement.

The experiment may ultimately lead to technologies that restore vision in people with retinal diseases, she added.

Tests showed the cells responded to light, the team reported in the journal Nature Communications. "Is our lab retina capable of producing a visual signal that the brain can interpret into an image? Probably not, but this is a good start," Canto-Soler said.

Other teams have used iPS cells to make a piece of human liver and are using them to study a range of human diseases.

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Eye in a Dish: Researchers Make Retina From Stem Cells

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Better tissue healing with disappearing hydrogels

By NEVAGiles23

Jun 06, 2014 This is a representation of hydrogel polymers (straight lines) trapping stem cells (light-colored figures) and water (blue). Credit: Michael Osadciw/ University of Rochester.

When stem cells are used to regenerate bone tissue, many wind up migrating away from the repair site, which disrupts the healing process. But a technique employed by a University of Rochester research team keeps the stem cells in place, resulting in faster and better tissue regeneration. The key, as explained in a paper published in Acta Biomaterialia, is encasing the stem cells in polymers that attract water and disappear when their work is done.

The technique is similar to what has already been used to repair other types of tissue, including cartilage, but had never been tried on bone.

"Our success opens the door for manyand more complicatedtypes of bone repair," said Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering Danielle Benoit. "For example, we should now be able to pinpoint repairs within the periosteumor outer membrane of bone material."

The polymers used by Benoit and her teams are called hydrogels because they hold water, which is necessary to keep the stem cells alive. The hydrogels, which mimic the natural tissues of the body, are specially designed to have an additional feature that's vital to the repair process; they degrade and disappear before the body interprets them as foreign bodies and begins a defense response that could compromise the healing process.

Because stem cells have the unique ability to develop into many different types of cells, they are an important part of the mechanism for repairing body tissue. At present, unadulterated therapeutic stem cells are injected into the bone tissue that needs to be repaired. Benoit believed hydrogels would allow the stem cells to finish the job of initiating repairs, then leave before overstaying their welcome.

The research team tested the hypothesis by transplanting cells onto the surface of mouse bone grafts and studying the cell behavior both in vivoinside the animaland in vitrooutside the body. They started by removing all living cells from donor bone fragments, so that the tissue regeneration could be accomplished only by the stem cells.

In order to track the progress of the research, the stem cells were genetically modified to include genes that give off fluorescence signals. The bone material was then coated with the hydrogels, which contained the fluorescently labeled stem cells, and implanted into the defect of the damaged mouse bone. At that point, the researchers began monitoring the repair process with longitudinal fluorescence to determine if there would be an appreciable loss of stem cells in the in vivo samples, as compared to the static, in vitro, environments. They found that there was no measurable difference between the concentrations of stem cells in the various samples, despite the fact that the in vivo sample was part of a dynamic environmentwhich included enzymes and blood flowmaking it easier for the stem cells to migrate away from the target site. That means virtually all the stem cells stayed in place to complete their work in generating new bone tissue.

"Some types of tissue repair take more time to heal than do others," said Benoit. "What we needed was a way to control how long the hydrogels remained at the site."

Benoit and her team were able to manipulate the time it took for hydrogels to dissolve by modifying groups of atomscalled degradable groupswithin the polymer molecules. By introducing different degradable groups to the polymer chains, the researchers were able to alter how long it took for the hydrogels to degrade.

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Better tissue healing with disappearing hydrogels

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Stem cells hold keys to body's plan

By JoanneRUSSELL25

13 hours ago Microscope And Digital Camera. Credit: Richard Wheeler/ Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

Case Western Reserve researchers have discovered landmarks within pluripotent stem cells that guide how they develop to serve different purposes within the body. This breakthrough offers promise that scientists eventually will be able to direct stem cells in ways that prevent disease or repair damage from injury or illness. The study and its results appear in the June 5 edition of the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Pluripotent stem cells are so named because they can evolve into any of the cell types that exist within the body. Their immense potential captured the attention of two accomplished faculty with complementary areas of expertise.

"We had a unique opportunity to bring together two interdisciplinary groups," said co-senior author Paul Tesar, PhD, Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genome Sciences at CWRU School of Medicine and the Dr. Donald and Ruth Weber Goodman Professor.

"We have exploited the Tesar lab's expertise in stem cell biology and my lab's expertise in genomics to uncover a new class of genetic switches, which we call seed enhancers," said co-senior author Peter Scacheri, PhD, Associate Professor of Genetics and Genome Sciences at CWRU School of Medicine. "Seed enhancers give us new clues to how cells morph from one cell type to another during development."

The breakthrough came from studying two closely related stem cell types that represent the earliest phases of developmentembryonic stem cells and epiblast stem cells, first described in research by Tesar in 2007. "These two stem cell types give us unprecedented access to the earliest stages of mammalian development," said Daniel Factor, graduate student in the Tesar lab and co-first author of the study.

Olivia Corradin, graduate student in the Scacheri lab and co-first author, agrees. "Stem cells are touted for their promise to make replacement tissues for regenerative medicine," she said. "But first, we have to understand precisely how these cells function to create diverse tissues."

Enhancers are sections of DNA that control the expression of nearby genes. By comparing these two closely related types of pluripotent stem cells (embryonic and epiblast), Corradin and Factor identified a new class of enhancers, which they refer to as seed enhancers. Unlike most enhancers, which are only active in specific times or places in the body, seed enhancers play roles from before birth to adulthood.

They are present, but dormant, in the early mouse embryonic stem cell population. In the more developed mouse epiblast stem cell population, they become the primary enhancers of their associated genes. As the cells mature into functional adult tissues, the seed enhancers grow into super enhancers. Super enhancers are large regions that contain many enhancers and control the most important genes in each cell type.

"These seed enhancers have wide-ranging potential to impact the understanding of development and disease," said Stanton Gerson, MD, Asa & Patricia Shiverick and Jane Shiverick (Tripp) Professor of Hematological Oncology and Director of the National Center for Regenerative Medicine at Case Western Reserve University. "In the stem cell field, this understanding should rapidly enhance the ability to generate clinically useful cell types for stem cell-based regenerative medicine."

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New method reveals single protein interaction key to embryonic stem cell differentiation

By Sykes24Tracey

13 hours ago Directed Network Wiring, a new method to simplify the study of protein networks, is illustrated. Credit: Shohei Koide/University of Chicago

Proteins are responsible for the vast majority of the cellular functions that shape life, but like guests at a crowded dinner party, they interact transiently and in complex networks, making it difficult to determine which specific interactions are most important.

Now, researchers from the University of Chicago have pioneered a new technique to simplify the study of protein networks and identify the importance of individual protein interactions. By designing synthetic proteins that can only interact with a pre-determined partner, and introducing them into cells, the team revealed a key interaction that regulates the ability of embryonic stem cells to change into other cell types. They describe their findings June 5 in Molecular Cell.

"Our work suggests that the apparent complexity of protein networks is deceiving, and that a circuit involving a small number of proteins might control each cellular function," said senior author Shohei Koide, PhD, professor of biochemistry & molecular biophysics at the University of Chicago.

For a cell to perform biological functions and respond to the environment, proteins must interact with one another in immensely complex networks, which when diagrammed can resemble a subway map out of a nightmare. These networks have traditionally been studied by removing a protein of interest through genetic engineering and observing whether the removal destroys the function of interest or not. However, this does not provide information on the importance of specific protein-to-protein interactions.

To approach this challenge, Koide and his team pioneered a new technique that they dub "directed network wiring." Studying mouse embryonic stem cells, they removed Grb2, a protein essential to the ability of the stem cell to transform into other cell types, from the cells. The researchers then designed synthetic versions of Grb2 that could only interact with one protein from a pool of dozens that normal Grb2 is known to network with. The team then introduced these synthetic proteins back into the cell to see which specific interactions would restore the stem cell's transformative abilities.

"The name, 'directed network wiring,' comes from the fact that we create minimalist networks," Koide said. "We first remove all communication lines associated with a protein of interest and add back a single line. It is analysis by addition."

Despite the complexity of the protein network associated with stem cell development, the team discovered that restoring only one interactionbetween Grb2 and a protein known as Ptpn11/Shp2 phosphatasewas enough to allow stem cells to again change into other cell types.

"We were really surprised to find that consolidating many interactions down to a single particular connection for the protein was sufficient to support development of the cells to the next stage, which involves many complicated processes," Koide said. "Our results show that signals travel discrete and simple routes in the cell."

Koide and his team are now working on streamlining directed network wiring and applying it to other areas of study such as cancer. With the ability to dramatically simplify how scientists study protein interaction networks, they hope to open the door to new research areas and therapeutic approaches.

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