Syndicate content

Archive - Jul 28, 2017


“Clinical Exome Sequencing Goes Live”—UCSF Hosts Symposium on Delivering Precision Medicine

by Michael A. Goldman, PhD
Professor & Chair, Biology, San Francisco State University
© 2017 by Michael A. Goldman

Stem Cell Advance at UW-Madison Brings Bioengineered Arteries Closer to Reality

Stem cell biologists have tried unsuccessfully for years to produce cells that will give rise to functional arteries and give physicians new options to combat cardiovascular disease, the world’s leading cause of death. Now, new techniques developed at the Morgridge Institute for Research in Madison, Wisconsin, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have produced, for the first time, functional arterial cells at both the quality and scale to be relevant for disease modeling and clinical application. Reporting in the July 10, 2017 issue of PNAS, scientists in the lab of stem cell pioneer Dr. James Thomson describe methods for generating and characterizing arterial endothelial cells — the cells that initiate artery development — that exhibit many of the specific functions required by the body. The PNAS article is titled “Functional Characterization of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Arterial Endothelial Cells.” Further, these cells contributed both to new artery formation and improved survival rate of mice used in a model for myocardial infarction. Mice treated with this cell line had an 83 percent survival rate, compared to 33 percent for controls. “The cardiovascular diseases that kill people mostly affect the arteries, and no one has been able to make those kinds of cells efficiently before,” says Dr. Jue Zhang, a Morgridge assistant scientist and lead author. “The key finding here is a way to make arterial endothelial cells more functional and clinically useful.” The challenge is that generic endothelial cells are relatively easy to create, but they lack true arterial properties and thus have little clinical value, Dr. Zhang says. The research team applied two pioneering technologies to the project.