Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

UMMS Develops New Technology to Study Stem Cells

Published: Wednesday, January 01, 2014
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 01, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Novel method holds potential for guiding stem cell differentiation.

Scientists at UMass Medical School have developed a new technology for manipulating gene expression in human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC). Published in the journal Development, the breakthrough will allow researchers to dissect the underlying mechanisms of human stem cell differentiation and may lead to new avenues for directing development of cell types.

“The ability to control stem cell differentiation holds enormous potential for researchers studying patient-specific disease models and could advance development of new therapeutics for autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes,” said Rene Maehr, PhD, assistant professor of molecular medicine and lead author of the study.

Using a natural defense system found in bacteria called clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, or CRISPR for short, researchers have shown it’s possible to adapt this programmable system to deliver transcription effectors that positively or negatively regulate gene expression to specific target genes in human pluripotent stem cells without altering the underlying genome.

CRISPR is a kind of adaptive immune system found in archaea and bacteria. It provides resistance to potential invaders, such as plasmids and phages, by recognizing and cleaving foreign genetic elements in a manner similar to how RNAi works in humans and other animals to turn off gene expression. In 2012, it was shown that CRISPR components programmed by RNA guides can deliver effector domains to specific human genes in order to activate or deactivate them.

Dr. Maehr and collaborator Scot Wolfe, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology, have developed an RNA-guided transcription effector system using CRISPR to target developmentally relevant genes and thereby alter the differentiation status of hPSCs. This breakthrough provides researchers a new, rapid method for identifying gene networks that govern the development of stem cells into specific, mature cell types.

Ultimately, Maehr and colleagues believe this system can be used to turn hPSCs into clinically relevant cell types such as pancreatic beta cells and thymic epithelial cells, an ability that until now was out of reach.

“This system now provides a much needed platform for investigating the underlying regulators governing cell differentiation decisions, which can then be used to guide development of patient-specific stem cells into clinically relevant cell types,” said Maehr, who studies type 1 diabetes and autoimmune disorders,. “In the long run, this could open the door to personalized disease models and human stem cell-based therapies.”

“Coupling targeted gene regulatory tools with pluripotent stem cell technology, as demonstrated in our study, will open new avenues for the development of cell-based therapeutics to directly address the unmet needs of a number of patient populations with complex diseases,” said Dr. Wolfe. “We are encouraged by the potential for the CRISPR-based gene regulatory system to allow for the precise manipulation of gene expression in stem cell populations, which should facilitate the discovery of key regulators of cell differentiation needed to generate cell populations that are absent or defective in specific diseases.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,300+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Liquid Biopsies: Miracle Diagnostic or Next New Fad?
Thanks to the development of highly specific gene-amplification and sequencing technologies liquid biopsies access more biomarkers relevant to more cancers than ever before.
Flu Vaccine May Reduce Risk of Death For Type 2 Diabetes Patients
Researchers at Imperial College London have suggested that the vaccine may have substantial benefits for patients with long-term conditions.
Cancer Gene-Drug Combinations Ripe for Precision Medicine
The study aims to expand the number of cancer gene mutations that can be paired with a precision therapy.
Porphyrins as Catalysts in Scalable Organic Reactions
This review covers the most relevant scalable porphyrin-catalysed procedures, showing how these compounds represent broad applications in chemistry.
CDC Updates Zika Recommendations
CDC has issued updated Zika recommendations and guidance for healthcare providers with a focus on sexual transmission.
Exploiting Malaria’s Achilles’ Heel
Researchers have uncovered an Achilles' heel in malaria's anti-drug treatment arsenal that could lead to a disease cure.
Genome of 6000-Year-Old Barley Sequenced
Researchers have successfully sequenced the genome of Chalcolithic barley grains for the first time.
3D Models May Yield Ovarian Cancer Insights
Researchers are developing new tools to decipher ovarian cancer developments through a 3D printing technology.
Targeting BRAF Mutations in Thyroid Cancer
Treating metastatic thyroid cancer patients harboring a BRAF mutation with vemurafenib showed anti-tumor activity in a third of patients.
Plant Compounds Fight Together Against Colon Cancer
Research shows treating colon cancer cells with curcumin, then silymarin is more effective than treatment with each individually.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,300+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,800+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!