Clinician and researcher Dr. Lior Gepstein discusses his work on using stem cells to model heart disease. We talk to Dr. Gepstein about his past and current work, including his latest paper published in Stem Cell Reports. His research covers human-induced pluripotent stem cell-cardiomyocytes and calcium levels.

Resources and Links

Antibiotic Resistance: World on Cusp of ‘Post-Antibiotic Era – The world is on the cusp of a “post-antibiotic era”, scientists have warned after finding bacteria resistant to drugs used when all other treatments have failed.

MG, the Newest STD on the Block, Found in over 1% of the Population – This article reports that slightly more than 1 percent of 4,500 participants tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) known as Mycoplasma genitalium (MG).

Parasitic Worm ‘Increases Women’s Fertility’ – This article suggests that infection with a species of parasitic round worm, Ascaris lumbricoides that alters the immune system, makes it easier for women to get pregnant.

How a Raisin Can Predict a Toddler’s Future Academic Ability – A simple test using a raisin can predict how well a toddler will perform academically at age eight, based on a research conducted at the University of Warwick.

Uterus Transplant: First US Clinical Trial Begins – This article reports that the first clinical trial of uterus transplantation in the United States has begun at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and in the process of selecting women with uterine factor infertility, a condition in which a woman was born without a uterus, has lost her uterus, or has a uterus that no longer functions.

Viagra for Type 2 Diabetes: ‘Little Blue Pill’ Reduces Insulin Resistance without Risk of Heart and Kidney Disease – This article reveals that Sildenafil, active ingredient in Viagra, may improve insulin sensitivity and prevent type 2 diabetes, without heart and kidney disease risk.

‘Ringo the Dog’ Helps Find Potential New Therapy for Muscular Dystrophy – Ringo, a golden retriever, has made an important contribution to science by helping researchers discover a gene that inhibits the consequences of dystrophin loss in Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Impairment of Sense of Smell May Indicate Dementia – A new study revealed that the decline in a person’s olfactory sense may be an indicator of mild cognitive impairment, Lewy body, vascular dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Nanopores Could Take the Salt out of Seawater – University of Illinois engineers have found an energy-efficient material, a nanometer-thick sheet of molybdenum disulfide riddled with tiny holes called nanopores, specially designed to let high volumes of water through but keep salt and other contaminates out, a process called desalination.

With $379M Deal for Ocata, Astellas Buys Stem Cells for Eye Diseases – Japanese drug firm Astellas Pharma announced that it has agreed to buy Ocata Therapeutics, which is developing regenerative medicines for eye diseases.

Thanks, George W., for the Boost to Stem Cell Research – This article reports that in 2001, George W. Bush restricted the use of federal funding for embryonic stem cell research but three years later, California started its own stem cell program, and several states followed suit.

NFL Legend Bart Starr Undergoes Second Experimental Stem Cell Treatment in Mexico – Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Bart Starr hopes to be in Green Bay on Thanksgiving to see Brett Favre’s No. 4 jersey retired at halftime in person after recently undergoing his second experimental stem cell treatment in Mexico.

Parents Hope Harvesting Stem Cells from Baby Teeth Will Save Lives – This article describes how one couple, RJ and Cindy Brideau, are banking stem cells that have been harvested from their children’s baby teeth.

Urine-Derived Stem Cells Predict Patient Response to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs – This article suggests that inhibitors of PCSK9, a liver enzyme involved in regulating cholesterol homeostasis, could provide an effective alternative or adjunct to statin therapy in high-risk hypercholesterolemic patients.

StemCells Inc Says Spinal Injury Therapy Shows Promise – StemCells Inc said its experimental stem cell therapy improved the functioning and strength of limbs in patients with spinal cord injuries, becoming the second company to report promising data on the treatment for such injuries.

Functional Connectivity under Optogenetic Control Allows Modeling of Human Neuromuscular Disease – Researchers establish optogenetic control in human pluripotent stem cell-derived spinal motorneurons and show that co-culture of these cells with human myoblast-derived skeletal muscle builds a functional all-human neuromuscular junction that can be triggered to twitch upon light stimulation.

The Specification and Maturation of Nociceptive Neurons from Human Embryonic Stem Cells – Researchers describe a system for efficiently guiding human embryonic stem cells into nociceptive neurons by first inducing these cells to the neural lineage.

Monitoring Human-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiomyocytes with Genetically Encoded Calcium and Voltage Fluorescent Reporters – Researchers combined the human-induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) technology with genetically encoded voltage and calcium fluorescent indicators to allow monitoring of short- and long-term changes in action-potential and calcium-handling properties and the development of arrhythmias in response to several pharmaceutical agents and in hiPSC-cardiomyocytes derived from patients with different inherited arrhythmogenic syndromes.

Photo Reference: Courtesy of Dr. Lior Gepstein