Ep. 35: CART Therapies Featuring Dr. Maria Themeli
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From the lab of Michel Sadelain, Dr. Maria Themeli talks to us about her work using stem cells to create killer T cells to seek and destroy cancer cells.
Resources and Links
Fat Isn’t All Bad: Skin Adipocytes Help Protect Against Infections – Researchers report the surprising discovery that fat cells below the skin known as adipocytes help protect us from bacteria.
Researchers Target the Cell’s ‘Biological Clock’ in Promising New Therapy to Kill Cancer Cells, Shrink Tumor Growth – This article tells about the cell biologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center that have targeted telomeres with a small molecule called 6-thiodG that takes advantage of the cell’s “biological clock” to kill cancer cells and shrink tumor growth.
With Cancer, ‘Bad Luck’ of Random Mutations Is Largely to Blame – Scientists have created a statistical model that measures the proportion of cancer incidence, and have found that it’s caused mainly by random mutations when stem cells divide.
Macrophages Contribute to the Cyclic Activation of Adult Hair Follicle Stem Cells – Skin resident macrophages surround and signal to resting hair follicle stem cells, regulate their entry into a new phase of hair follicle growth.
Meth Users Face Higher Risk for Parkinson’s Disease – This article reveals that people who use methamphetamine have a greatly increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and that women who took the drug had higher odds of the disease than men.
Molecular Mechanism Behind Health Benefits of Dietary Restriction Identified – Findings from researchers suggest that hydrogen sulfide is one of the key molecules responsible for the benefits of dietary restriction or calorie restriction such as slowing aging and extending lifespan.
Decoding Fat Cells: Discovery May Explain Why We Gain Weight – Researchers discovered that a protein, Thy1, has a fundamental role in controlling whether a primitive cell decides to become a fat cell, making Thy1 a possible therapeutic target for obesity.
Egg and Sperm Race: Scientists Create Precursors to Human Egg and Sperm – Scientists at the University of Cambridge working with the Weizmann Institute have created primordial germ cells – cells that will go on to become egg and sperm – using human embryonic stem cells.
Billionaire Bought James Watson’s Nobel Prize Medal in Order to Return It – This article talks about Alisher Usmanov, the richest man in Russia and a major shareholder in Arsenal football club who has come forward as the buyer of James Watson’s Nobel Prize medal – declaring that he now plans to give the piece back and the money he spent on the item to be donated to scientific research.
Orangutan Inside Argentina Zoo Granted ‘Non-Human Person Rights’ in Landmark Ruling – In this article, an orangutan named Sandra held in an Argentinian zoo can be freed and transferred to a sanctuary after a court recognized the ape as a “non-human person” unlawfully deprived of its freedom.
Variation in Cancer Risk among Tissues Can Be Explained by the Number of Stem Cell Divisions – This article describes how Tomasetti and Vogelstein plotted the lifetime incidence of various cancers against the estimated number of normal stem cell divisions in the corresponding tissues over a lifetime, and found a strong correlation extending over five orders of magnitude.
New Technique for Bioengineering Stem Cells Shows Promise in HIV Resistance – According to this article, an improved gene therapy strategy using modified human stem cells shows promise in animal models as a functional cure for HIV.
lncRNA Maturation to Initiate Heterochromatin Formation in the Nucleolus Is Required for Exit from Pluripotency in ESCs – This article shows that maturation of the long noncoding RNA pRNA is required for establishment of heterochromatin at ribosomal RNA genes, the genetic component of nucleoli, and this process is inactivated in pluripotent ESCs.
Restoration of Progranulin Expression Rescues Cortical Neuron Generation in an Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Model of Frontotemporal Dementia – Scientists used induced pluripotent stem cells to better understand how haploinsufficiency of progranulin causes frontotemporal dementia.
New Type of Sendai Virus Vector Provides Transgene-Free iPS Cells Derived from Chimpanzee Blood – Researchers developed a new Sendai virus vector, TS12KOS which is useful for generating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from the blood cells of both human and chimpanzee.
Tolerance Induction and Reversal of Diabetes in Mice Transplanted with Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Pancreatic Endoderm – Scientists demonstrated that immunotherapies that target T cell costimulatory pathways block the rejection of xenogeneic human embryonic-stem-cell-derived pancreatic endoderm in mice.
Telomerase Inhibition Effectively Targets Mouse and Human AML Stem Cells and Delays Relapse following Chemotherapy – This article reveals that in xenografts of primary human acute myeloid leukemia (AML), genetic or pharmacological inhibition of telomerase targets leukemia stem cells, impairs leukemia progression, and delays relapse following chemotherapy.
Photo Reference: Courtesy of Dr. Themeli