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Stem cells: a brief history and outlook

July 2013: Human Liver Created from Stem Cells

❶These embryonic germ cells give scientists a chance to study different processes, including cancer growth and the development of sperm cells. These mice are created using embryonic stem cells and homologous recombination, a process in which similar strands of DNA switch genes.

February 1, 1961: Till & McCulloch establish the foundation for stem cell science

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1990: President George H.W. Bush Vetos Bill Lifting Moratorium

These tumors, known as teratomas , contained mixtures of differentiated and undifferentiated cells, including hair, bone, intestinal and blood tissue. Researchers concluded the cells were pluripotent , meaning they can differentiate into any cell found in a fully grown animal.

Donnall Thomas, a physician-scientist working in Seattle, attempts the first human bone marrow transplantation. He later wins the Nobel Prize for this work in February 2, — Canadian scientists Ernest McCulloch and James Till perform experiments on the bone marrow of mice and observe that different blood cells come from a special class of cells.

This is one of the first pieces of evidence of blood stem cells. Good of the University of Minnesota performs the first successful bone marrow transplant on a child patient suffering from an immune deficiency that killed others in his family. The boy received bone marrow from his sister, and he grew into healthy adulthood.

These early cells are the first embryonic stem cells ever to be isolated. Being able to convert one type of adult cell into another may be important for regenerative medicine. These mice are created using embryonic stem cells and homologous recombination, a process in which similar strands of DNA switch genes. Since scientists bred the first knockout mice, there have been more than different mouse models of human disease.

In , the Nobel Assembly recognized these three scientists for their research, which has proven to be invaluable in understanding how various human diseases, including diabetes and cancer, develop. After finding the cells were pluripotent , the team sees the potential the cells have for drug discovery and transplantation medicine. Bush signs an order authorizing the use of federal funds for research on a limited number of existing human embryonic stem cell lines. Scientists fear several of these available lines are now too old for research.

In a decision favorable to proponents of ES cell research, the U. Sebelius , thereby upholding the previous ruling of the D. By removing the DNA from an egg cell and replacing it with genetic material from a skin cell, scientists create stem cells that can be programmed into becoming many different cell types, including the contracting cardiomyocytes that make up our heart muscle.

Nuclear transfer NT -ES cells hold great promise for regenerative medicine because the resulting stem cells are a genetic match to the skin cell donor. An FDA-approved clinical trial finds that treatment with ES cells improves sight in over half of 18 patients suffering from macular degeneration.

The study, published in The Lancet , shows that transplantation of ES cells is safe in the long-term. Don't leave advocacy to others: The guidelines stipulate that: Human embryonic stem cells must be derived with private funds from frozen embryos from fertility clinics; That they must have been created for fertility treatment purposes; That they be in excess of the donor's clinical need; and That they be obtained with consent of the donor.

President Bush prohibits federal funding of most human embryonic stem cell research President George W. Sebelius, the most noteworthy court case regarding the government's funding of embryonic stem cell research, is filed A group of plaintiffs led by adult stem cell scientists James Sherley, M.

District Court for the District of Columbia rules in favor of embryonic stem cell research in Sherley v. America Blog Porter's Principles. For the first time, scientists could, in theory, generate all the building blocks of our body in unlimited amounts. It was possible to have cell types for testing new therapeutics and perhaps even new transplantation methods that were previously not possible.

Yet, destroying human embryos to isolate cells presented ethical and technical hurdles. How could one circumvent that procedure? Sir John Gurdon showed in the early s that, contrary to the prevalent belief back then, cells are not locked in their differentiation state and can be reverted to a more primitive state with a higher developmental potential.

He demonstrated this principle by injecting the nucleus of a differentiated frog cell into an egg cell from which the nucleus had been removed. This is commonly known as reproductive cloning, which was used to generate Dolly the Sheep.

When allowed to develop, this egg gave rise to a fertile adult frog, proving that differentiated cells retain the information required to give rise to all cell types in the body. More than forty years later, Shinya Yamanaka and colleagues shocked the world when they were able to convert skin cells called fibroblasts into pluripotent stem cells by altering the expression of just four genes [].

This represented the birth of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells see Figure 1, right column. The enormous importance of these findings is hard to overstate, and is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that, merely six years later, Gurdon and Yamanaka shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine [].

Today, these cells are the hope of personalized medicine, as they allow one to capture the unique genome of each individual in a cell type that can be used to generate, in principle, all cell types in our body, as illustrated on the right panel of Figure 1.

The replacement of diseased tissues or organs without facing the barrier of immune rejection due to donor incompatibility thus becomes approachable in this era of iPS cells and is the object of intense research []. The first proof-of-principle study showing that iPS cells can potentially be used to correct genetic diseases was carried out in the laboratory of Rudolf Jaenisch. In brief, tail tip cells from mice with a mutation causing sickle cell anemia were harvested and reprogrammed into iPS cells.

The mutation was then corrected in these iPS cells, which were then differentiated into blood progenitor cells and transplanted back into the original mice, curing them []. Even though iPS cells have been found not to completely match ES cells in some instances, detailed studies have failed to find consistent differences between iPS and ES cells []. This similarity, together with the constant improvements in the efficiency and robustness of generating iPS cells, provides bright prospects for the future of stem cell research and stem cell-based treatments for degenerative diseases unapproachable with more conventional methods.

Cytological demonstration of the clonal nature of spleen colonies derived from transplanted mouse marrow cells. The distribution of colony-forming cells among spleen colonies. J Cell Comp Physiol , 62 3:


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The information used to compile this Stem Cell Research Timeline comes from many different sources, including the National Institutes of Health. A useful list of links to other stem cell research timelines from around the Web can be found at the bottom of this page.

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Yesterday, the potential of stem cells to revolutionise medicine got a huge boost with news of an ultra-versatile kind of stem cell from adult mouse cells using a remarkably simple method. This timeline takes you through the ups and downs of .

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From early fetal tissue research to the first successful human treatments, this timeline documents the progress in stem cell science, and the policies that have impeded or promoted it. The stories of research involving human embryonic stem cells and the policy governing that work are intertwined and stretch back into the mids. History of Stem Cell Research — A Timeline Wrights/Giemsa stained human embryonic stem cell (hESC) colony on murine embryonic fibroblast feeder cells. The colony contains roughly individual hESCs.

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Timeline: A brief history of stem cell research Science Progress | June 15, From early fetal tissue research to the first successful human treatments, this timeline documents the progress in stem cell science, and the . Timeline of major events in stem cell research policy Stem cells have been used in medicine since the ’s when bone marrow transplants were first used to treat leukemia. Congressional involvement in stem cell policy started as early as