Stem Cell Gurus

Stem Cell Gurus

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Michael Answers Your Questions…

05/11/2012

Who do I see about stem cell research?  You can ask me about stem cell research.  You can also participate in stem cell clinical trials by going to www.clinicaltrials.gov and search for open clinical trials for many different diseases.

Do stem cells hurt babies?  No, in fact many baby’s lives have been saved through stem cell research.  Babies have been cured of certain cancers, treated for cerebral palsy, rare bone disorders and more.

Are stem cells genetic engineering or does harvesting make clones? Human reproductive cloning is unethical and would be very difficult to do.  Even in the case of cloning dogs and cats, the success rate is quite low <2%.  Genetic engineering of stem cells is a totally different matter.  A new type of stem cell called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC or iPS cells) were created by taking a normal skin biopsy and integrating 4 genes into it thus resetting the cells biology to act like a pluripotent stem cell, a cell capable of turning into any cell type in the body.  The NCRM has a clinical trial for glioblastoma where the patients blood forming stem cells are genetically engineered to be resistant to a specific type of chemotherapy.  Doing so allows the clinician to give higher doses of chemotherapy and, hopefully, lead to a cure for this disease that normally kills patients in 2 years with current treatments.

Can I become a super hero with stem cells?  Maybe like Wolverine.  Stem cells can heal wounds quicker and with little to no scar tissue.  There are limitations to what they can do but the full potency of stem cells are only just now being explored.  Right now we can grow skin, bones, nerves, fat, muscle and more with stem cells.

How fast do stem cells grow?  Interestingly some grow fast and some grow slow.  Embryonic stem cells grow the quickest with doubling times under 10 hours.  This means if you started out with 100 cells you would have 400 cells in less than 1 day and 1 billion in about 2 weeks – 33 population doublings.  Brain stem cells can go dormant and not grow at all for many years then when damage occurs, wake up and start growing to fix the damage.

How do I get involved with clinical trials?  You can participate in stem cell clinical trials by going to www.clinicaltrials.gov and search for open clinical trials for many different diseases.

 

Thanks for asking these great questions! Any more questions you have you can contact Michael at michael.gilkey@case.edu or simply click this post and comment in the box to your right!

Featured Guru of the Month

05/10/2012

Just in! Meet our first guru of the month! Michael works for the National Center for Regenerative Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. He has experience in commercialization and basic science and stem cell research as well as regenerative medicine. For more information about him go to the stem cell center’s website here.

We hear you…

05/10/2012

Here are the questions you posted this week that we are considering for our upcoming interview with a local stem cell guru.

Who do I see about stem cell research?
Do stem cells hurt babies?
Are stem cells genetic engineering? And does harvesting make clones?
Can I become a superhero with stem cells?
How fast do stem cells grow?
How do I get involved with clinical trials?

Meet a Researcher

05/06/2012

Coming soon…meet a couple researchers a month through short video interviews. We understand these people are busy so we may have to have some written interviews here and there.

Here you will learn about what they are working on, recent breakthroughs as well as learn about their thoughts and ideas on the future of stem cell research.

As if that wasn’t cool enough…we want you to ask any questions you may have about stem cell research in the comment box to the right. If its a goodie, we will ask your question during the interview.