Five Key Milestones of 2017 in Stem Cell Research
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the notable potential to mature into many diverse cell types during early life and growth in the body. These cells can serve a particular purpose in a specific organ. Additionally, in numerous tissues they assist as a type of internal repair system, separating essentially without border to replace other cells as long as the individual is still alive. Since these cells have the capability to turn into many other cell types, researchers believe that it can be beneficial for understanding and treating diseases. The stem cell research is continuing at research institutions, universities and hospitals across the globe and the scientists are concentrating on finding ways to regulate the ways to turn stem cells into other cell types. Some of the key milestones among huge ongoing clinical trials include,
- UCLA stem cell gene therapy treats newborns with bubble baby disease
Scientists at UCLA have advanced a stem cell gene therapy cure for newborns with adenosine deaminase-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency, a severe and rare condition that can be lethal within the first year of life if it is not treated properly. Using stem cell gene therapy led by Dr. Donald Kohn, all the nine babies involved in the clinical trials are cured and the treatment carefully reestablishes immune systems in children with the immunodeficiency using own cells and cured all 30 children during numerous clinical trial course.
- Asterias Biotherapeutics CIRM-funded clinical trial for patients with spinal cord injury
Asterias Biotherapeutics is developing a stem cell therapy to reestablish higher body motor function in patients who suffered from serious spinal cord injuries. The treatment was found to be safe for human use, through thorough and extensive testing in a human clinical trial, with all treated patients showing improvements in their conditions.
- Engineering of stem cells by UC Irvine Scientists to destroy cancer
UC Irvine (team) team conducted a study, wherein a stem-cell based technique was developed to discover and destroy metastasized breast cancer cells. The cells sense the stiffness of the neighboring tissue and kills the cancer-causing cells.
- CRISPR-Cas9 technology for the treatment of Sickle Cell Disease
Researchers from the Stanford developed a gene therapy technique to edit sickle cell mutations using CRISPR-Cas9 editing technology in human blood stem cells. CIRM funded a late-stage preclinical study l to further examine CRISPR-Cas9 technology, that is likely to be examined in humans in near future.
- Appointment of Dr. Maria Millan as the first female president of CIRM
In September 2017, Dr. Maria Millan was appointed as a president and CEO of CIRM. She has been at CIRM since 2012, and was active in the growth of CIRM’s infrastructure programs. Formerly, Dr. Millan was the VP of Therapeutics at CIRM, aiding to fund 23 new clinical trials since 2016.
– Arpitha Shetty,