CRISPR Advances Genetic Disease Treatment with Stem Cells.

CRISPR may change the way scientists incorporate stem cells for translational genomics.

Scientists led by Dr. Craig Mello of The University of Massachusetts have developed a genetic tool – CRISPR [clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats] – to revolutionize the way stem cells are applied to treat genetic diseases, such as sickle cell or thalassemia.  CRISPR aims to expedite and improve upon the process of translational genomics, in which the patient’s stem cells are extracted, altered to repair the damaged gene, and then transplanted back to the patient. Continue reading

Studying Mother Nature to Advance Stem Cell Therapies.

Researchers are currently studying the genomes of other animals for new insights into our own stem cell processes.

Researchers led by Professor Christian Peterson from Northwestern University have discovered a gene in flatworm planarians that activates their stem cells to replace lost tissue after an injury.  The gene, called zic-1, allows the stem cells to create completely new organs and body parts, such as the regeneration of a head after decapitation. Continue reading