Tag: Stem Cells + Therapeutic Cloning

Whitehead Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch

Whitehead’s Rudolf Jaenisch honored with March of Dimes Prize

April 27, 2015

The prize honors Jaenisch’s groundbreaking body of work in epigenetics, the development of transgenic animals, and the generation and use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

Dividing human mammary stem cells

Age discrimination during cell division maintains the ‘stem’ in stem cells

April 2, 2015

A team of Whitehead Institute scientists has discovered that during division, stem cells distinguish between old and young mitochondria and allocate them disproportionately between daughter cells.

Family of neural-associated RNA-binding proteins found to regulate cell state in breast cancer

December 15, 2014

A widely conserved family of RNA-binding proteins known to be expressed in neural stem cells and other stem cell types has now been shown to play a role in controlling both the state and behavior of breast cancer cells.

Schematic depicting creation of stable induced neural stem cells (iNSCs)

Direct generation of neural stem cells could enable transplantation therapy

November 6, 2014

Induced neural stem cells (iNSCs) hold promise for therapeutic transplantation, but their potential in this capacity has been limited by failed efforts to maintain such cells in their multi-potent NSC state. Now, Whitehead Institute scientists have created iNSCs that remain in the multi-potent state—without ongoing expression of reprogramming factors. This allows the iNSCs to self-renew repeatedly to generate cells in quantities sufficient for therapy.

Diagrams of DNA "goody bags"

Special chromosomal structures control key genes

October 7, 2014

Scientists have long theorized that the way in which the roughly three meters of DNA in a human cell is packaged to fit within a nuclear space just six microns wide, affects gene expression. Now, Whitehead Institute researchers present the first evidence that DNA structure does indeed have such effects—in this case finding a link between chromosome structure and the expression and repression of key genes.

Diagram of reprogramming factors in SNEL

New reprogramming factor cocktail produces therapy-grade induced pluripotent stem cells

September 4, 2014

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may hold the potential to cure damaged nerves, regrow limbs and organs, and perfectly model a patient’s particular disease. Yet these cells can acquire serious genetic and epigenetic abnormalities that lower the cells’ quality and limit their therapeutic usefulness. Now Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a cocktail of reprogramming factors that produces very high quality iPSCs.

Phase and fluorescence images of conventional (primed) human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and naïve human ESCs

Whitehead Institute researchers create “naïve” pluripotent human embryonic stem cells

July 24, 2014

Embryonic stem cell (ESC) research has been hampered by the inability to transfer research and tools from mouse ESC studies to their human counterparts, in part because human ESCs are “primed” and slightly less plastic than the mouse cells. Now researchers in the lab of Whitehead Institute Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch have discovered how to manipulate and maintain human ESCs into a “naïve” or base pluripotent state similar to that of mouse ESCs without the use of any reprogramming factors.

Images of mouse lung cells untreated and treated with a PERK inhibitor

Seemingly invincible cancer stem cells reveal a weakness

June 5, 2014

Metastatic cancer cells, which can migrate from primary tumors to seed new malignancies, have thus far been resistant to the current arsenal of anticancer drugs. Now, however, researchers at Whitehead Institute have identified a critical weakness that actually exploits one of these cells’ apparent strengths—their ability to move and invade tissues. Their research could inform novel approaches to screening tumors for personalized therapy or to drugs that specifically target these cells.

Photo: Three-banded panther worm

Three-banded panther worm debuts as a new model in the study of regeneration

April 24, 2014

The lab of Whitehead Institute Member Peter Reddien is introducing the scientific community to the three-banded panther worm (Hofstenia miamia), a small organism with the ability to regenerate any missing body part. As a model, Hofstenia could help further our understanding of regeneration, how its mechanisms have evolved over millennia, and what limits regeneration in other animals, including humans. 

Image of a eraser erasing part of a neuron

Genetic mutation increases risk of Parkinson’s disease from pesticides

November 27, 2013

A team of researchers from Whitehead Institute and Sanford-Burnham Research Institute has brought new clarity to the picture of how gene-environmental interactions can kill nerve cells that make dopamine. The study uses patient-derived stem cells to show that a mutation in the α-synuclein gene causes increased vulnerability to pesticides, leading to Parkinson’s disease.

Schematic showing nerve cells and person with Parkinson's disease within a yeast cell

Yeast, human stem cells drive discovery of new Parkinson’s disease drug targets

October 24, 2013

Using a discovery platform whose components range from yeast cells to human stem cells, Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a novel Parkinson’s disease drug target and a compound capable of repairing neurons derived from Parkinson’s patients.

Images of the activity of the follistatin gene in a planarian after its head and tail were cut off

Tissue loss triggers regeneration in planarian flatworms

September 3, 2013

By investigating regeneration in planarian flatworms, Whitehead Institute researchers have identified a mechanism—involving the interplay of two wound-induced genes—by which the animal can distinguish between wounds that require regeneration and those that do not.

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