What is “gene-editing?” Is gene editing human embryos a positive scientific breakthrough for human health? Or misuse of a powerful research tool? This “Highlights” will outline the basic biology behind gene editing, followed by a description of the process in general and in human embryos, specifically.
Search in library posts
Although circadian rhythms were discovered over a century ago, their importance and their molecular basis is a fast-growing field in the past 20 years. Bedford Research scientists became aware of circadian rhythm genes while researching ways to improve the efficiency of developing therapeutically valuable stem cells from human eggs activated without sperm (parthenotes).
Last week a team of Oregon scientists reported creating four unique stem cells by injecting the nucleus from another cell in the body into a human egg, a process called Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. This work is a follow-up to studies originally reported by Bedford Research Foundation scientists, Jose Cibelli and Ann Kiessling, in 2001.
The current raucous debate over the commonly used PSA blood test to screen for prostate cancer, the third leading cause of cancer deaths in men in the U.S., stems from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s recommendation to discontinue PSA screening. The debate is pitting physician against physician, cancer advocacy groups against health care insurance companies, and leaving men with enormous questions about what to do about their lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infects specific types of cells in the immune system. Like most viruses, in order for HIV to infect a cell, the virus must bind to a specific protein, termed a receptor, on the cell’s surface. There are many different types of cells in our immune system, and each plays a specific role in fighting infections, both bacterial and viral. Our bodies produce billions of new immune cells every day from stem cell reservoirs in bone marrow.
Improving treatments for damaged organs and tissues is the promise of human pluripotent stem cells. The power of pluripotent stem cells to alleviate damage to organs, a form of regenerative medicine, has been amply demonstrated in many animal and laboratory model systems. In some studies, the pluripotent stem cells need to differentiate into the type of cell needed for normal function prior to transplantation, whereas in other studies, the presence of the transplanted stem cells themselves appears to alleviate damage and help restore organ function.
As we enter a new decade of this new millennium, stem cell science is in a state of confusion. The power of pluripotent stem cells to alleviate damage to organs has been amply demonstrated in many model systems. It is not hype to assert that pluripotent stem cells are the foundation upon which regenerative medicine will grow. The over arching problem now, however, is lack of consensus about which stem cells to use and how to use them.