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One in a billion: finding stray cancer stem cells

Cancer patients and their doctors face daunting challenges at the time of diagnosis. Many crucial questions either cannot be answered or rely upon relatively low-tech methods whose accuracy is far from ideal. For example, how aggressive is this tumor? Has it already spread? After diagnosis and initial treatment, it is critical to monitor patients for …

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Scientific-proof for the DC Court of Appeals that life begins at conception? Not by a long shot

The DC Appeals Court hears oral arguments today in the case over whether the federal government can legally fund embryonic stem cell (ESC) research. At stake are dozens of research projects that could provide treatments or cures for millions of Americans. Reportedly, an amicus brief to the court has been filed on behalf of Associate …

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From genes to chemicals: iPS cell field, reprogramming in transition

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Sheng Ding’s lab reports today in Cell Stem Cell (you can read it here) that they have replaced all genetic factors in a new iPS cell reprogramming method except Oct4. The other factors were replaced by chemical compounds. Thus, we continue a major transition in the iPS cell field away from genes and toward chemicals. …

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Stem Cells and Cars

It happens several times a month these days. Some new, interesting paper comes out on IPS cells or on transdifferentiation. Immediately, opponents of ES cell research criminally twist the findings in the new paper and produce ‘news’ headlines that pop up high on Google to the effect that ES cells are now ‘obsolete’. IPS cells …

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From Point A to Point Z: thinking outside the box about stem cells

What is the best way to get new stem cell-based therapies to the millions of patients who need help? I would argue that this is the key question in the field of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Sometimes I think it is easy for folks to lose sight of that and fall into traps. …

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Challenges translating stem cell treatments to patients

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It has been a rollercoaster few months between the anti-hESC court cases as well as Geron and Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) receiving the OK from the FDA to proceed with initial clinical trials of stem cell treatments. It’s OK to be excited about the clinical trials and I for one am, but we have to …

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