Friday, 23 February 2007

Monkey-Cow Stem Cells to Be Created in Korea

Inter-Species Stem Cells to Be Created Monkey-Cow Research May Heal Incurable Diseases Korean Times – 02-23-2007 A team of Korean scientists has come close to creating interspecies stem cells by combining monkey cells with cow ova for the first time in history. When applied to human cells, the feats are expected to accelerate cell therapy aimed at healing incurable diseases such as diabetes or Alzheimer's. The team, headed by Koo Deog-bon at the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, said Friday they had established a monkey blastocyst, the source of stem cells, last month via interspecies nuclear transfer. ”We started the task of infusing monkey somatic cells into cow ova, from which the nuclei had been removed, last November. After hundreds of failures, we made a blastocyst in January,” Koo said. .......... ”It failed to thrive. But we became sure of the potential of interspecies research - creating a blastocyst and extracting stem cell batches from it,” the 41-year-old senior researcher said. .......... ”We will generate more monkey blastocysts to achieve our goals of culturing stem cell lines with them earlier than our competitors,” said Koo at the state-backed institute. .......... ”If we are successful, we will be able to apply the technologies to humans - making stem cells with animal ova - if society allows such an idea,” Koo said. .......... ZenMaster

Powerful molecules: new use for RNA discovered

Powerful molecules: new use for miRNA discovered Johns Hopkins News-Letter, MD, February 22, 2007 A new study has illuminated the role of tiny snippets of the genetic material RNA in the development of blood stem cells into mature red and white blood cells. These findings offer a glimpse into a still poorly understood means of regulating cell development. ......... By examining miRNA-mRNA interaction predictions from the database, the scientists were able to sort the miRNA from blood stem cells into three categories, based on when they affect blood cell differentiation. The first group of miRNAs can inhibit proteins that cause initial differentiation of blood stem cells, which stops production of all types of blood cells. The second group of miRNAs can inhibit the differentiation of one general category or set of similar blood cells. The final group consists of miRNAs that inhibit production of only on one specific type of cell, such as red blood cells.

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

MicroRNA Pathway in Self-Renewal of Germline Stem Cells

Role of MicroRNA Pathway in Self-Renewal of Germline Stem Cells Kansas City, Mo. (Feb. 15, 2007) – Ting Xie, Ph.D., Associate Investigator, and Zhigang Jin, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Xie Lab, have published results showing that the microRNA pathway is essential for controlling self-renewal of germline stem cells and somatic stem cells in the Drosophila ovary. The paper, “Dcr-1 Maintains Drosophila Ovarian Stem Cells,” was published on the Web site of Current Biology. MicroRNAs are single-stranded small RNA molecules believed to regulate the expression of other genes. The Xie Lab’s findings show that the microRNA pathway is essential for controlling self-renewal of two types of stem cells in the Drosophila ovary. “The findings were interesting to us because they demonstrated that the microRNA pathway is essential for controlling self-renewal or maintenance of two types of stem cells — germline stem cells and somatic stem cells,” said Dr. Jin. “In the future, the small RNAs responsible for stem cell regulation could potentially be used to control stem cell functions in vivo and stem cell expansion in vitro.” “We are in the process of identifying the microRNAs that are important for stem cell self-renewal,” said Dr. Xie. “Understanding the mechanisms controlling stem cell self-renewal will be crucial to our developing the ability to expand stem cell populations for performing tissue repair.” Dr. Xie holds a faculty appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology at The University of Kansas School of Medicine. About the Stowers InstituteHoused in a 600,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility on a 10-acre campus in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri, the Stowers Institute for Medical Research conducts basic research on fundamental processes of cellular life. Through its commitment to collaborative research and the use of cutting-edge technology, the Institute seeks more effective means of preventing and curing disease. The Institute was founded by Jim and Virginia Stowers, two cancer survivors who have created combined endowments of $2 billion in support of basic research of the highest quality.