What are the sources for embryonic stem cells?

1. Excess fertilized eggs from in-vitro ferilization clinics, 2. Using IVF procedures with donated oocytes and sperm to make blastocysts for research, or 3. Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT)

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What is differentiation?

Differentiation is the process in which a cell, such as a stem cell, specializes in the creation or replenishing of cells in specific tissues or organs in the body. The process occurs through the activation (“turning on”) or inactivation (“turning off”) of specific genes in the cells. The turning on/turning off process results in the development of cells that are assigned specific tasks such as creating the heart or replenishing the lining of the intestine.

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What is an adult or somatic stem cell?

They are stem cells found in the tissue and organs of organisms that have the potential to become their tissue of origin. Essentially, adult or somatic stem cells are tissue specific stem cells that will have a specific occupation within the organism, for example, embryonic stem cells that differentiate or become heart stem cells will form heart tissue. Such cells have the ability to replenish or maintain tissues that have a limited life span, such as skin and intestines.

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What is an embryonic stem cell?

Embryonic stem cells come from the “inner cell mass” of a group of cells called a blastocyst. The blastocyst is an early stage of development known as the “zygote” that occurs within the first 4-6 days after fertilization. Once the “inner cell mass” or embryonic stem cells are removed from the blastocyst, the cells may be kept alive in a petri dish under specific laboratory conditions. Such cells are pluri-potent meaning they may become any cell in the body.

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What are the stages of human development?

The National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) provided a simple outline of human development: 1. the developing organism is a zygote during the first week after fertilization, 2. the organism is an embryo during the 2nd – 8th weeks of development 3. the organism is a fetus from the 9th week of development until the time of birth.

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Are stem cells currently used to treat disease?

Yes, adult or somatic stem cells have been used for some time to treat disease. For example, blood stem cells created in the bone-marrow are used in “bone-marrow transplant" as a common therapy for various blood based diseases such as leukemia and aplastic anemia. Organ transplantation also uses stem cell technology.

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Scientists discover key mechanism that regulates prostate stem cell self-renewal and transformation of healthy cells into cancer

A protein that is crucial for regulating the self-renewal of normal prostate stem cells, needed to repair injured cells or restore normal cells killed by hormone withdrawal therapy for cancer, also aids the transformation of healthy cells into prostate cancer cells, researchers at UCLA have found.

The findings, by researchers with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA, may have important implications for controlling cancer growth and progression.

New, technologically advanced labs opened to expand research efforts at the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center

New, technologically advanced laboratories will officially open today to expand stem cell research efforts – particularly for translating discoveries from bench to bedside – at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA.

The creation of the labs was funded through a $19.8-million grant awarded to UCLA two years ago by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the state agency that dispenses Prop. 71 monies to fund stem cell research.

Four UCLA stem cell researchers awarded $12 million in grants to translate basic discoveries into therapies

The state stem cell agency today awarded four grants totaling $12 million to researchers with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA to translate basic science into new and more effective therapies to regenerate bone and treat deadly brain cancers, spinal cord injuries and corneal disorders that result in blindness.

The Broad Stem Cell Research Center received more early translational grants than any other institution in this round of funding.

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