Thursday, August 20, 2015

Therapeutic Approaches: Advances in Stem Cell Research

Kicking off the concurrent session for Advances in Stem Cell Research, Jeanne Loring, Professor, Scripps Research Institute presents Using Genomics to Improve Stem Cell Therapy

Human pluripotent stem cells have the astounding ability to grow undifferentiated and form into each cell type in the body. The mission of stem cell research is to propel human undifferentiated cells by the use of effective new cutting edge advances.  Loring's lab takes a multifaceted approach to stem cell research, and today she discusses findings in her research, with a focus on the genomics of stem cells. Lessons learned regarding the safety of stem cell transplants from long term culture shows that to maintain stability, hPSC's should be expanded for banking using manual passaging and feeder layers. Additionally, lowest possible passage cells should be used, along with the use of quality assays to assure the right cell type with no deleterious mutations. 

Next, Evan Snyder, Director, Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine, presents Using Stem Cells to Discover Therapeutic Pathways, Targets & Drugs. A pediatrician by background, one area of his research involves how neural stem cells self-renew and differentiate into neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes. 

Searching for novel approaches to treating bipolar disorder. We know, for example, that lithium takes a shot at bipolar. Could we, as a result, pry into the can to uncover what is going on?

One of the objectives of lithium seems, by all accounts, to be CRMP2, a particle inside the neuron, that, in addition to other things, is essential to dendrite advancement. Dendrites are the sharp projections from neurons that get neurotransmitters from close-by axons stretching out from different neurons.

Just to make this absolutely befuddling, CRMP2 likewise underpins axonal development.

"Excitotoxicity" can meddle with the ordinary compound procedures of CRMP2. CRMP2 is getting phosphorylated excessively. This implies the biochemical "on-off" switch goes haywire, with unwanted downstream effects.

As indicated by Dr. Snyder, lithium seems to bring down the level of phosphorylation. Only time will tell if we will one day be able to make genetic modifications for those afflicted with these neuro disorders. 

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