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Glenn Nichols, surrounded by his hospice team. The author is in yellow.

Genetic Linkage

Human Embryonic Stem Cells Finally Reach Clinical Trials: Maurie’s Story

October 3, 2012

Tags: human embryonic stem cells, Advanced Cell Technology, Wills Eye Institute, Stargardt Disease, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Maurie Hill

This is what Maurie Hill sees with her left eye covered when observing the eye chart from a meter away (credit: Derek Bove)
On July 11, Wills Eye Institute ophthalmologist Carl Regillo delicately placed 100,000 cells beneath the retina of 52-year-old Maurie Hill’s left eye. She was rapidly losing her vision due to Stargardt disease, an inherited macular dystrophy similar to the much more common dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Maurie’s disease was far along, the normally (more…)

Guest Blog: "I'm in the ACT Stem Cell Trial for Stargardt Disease!"

August 2, 2012

Tags: human embryonic stem cells, Advanced Cell Technology, Wills Eye Institute, Stargardt disease, retinal disease

Maurie Hill, after receiving retinal cells derived from human embryonic stem cells at the Wills Eye Institute in Philadelphia on July 11.
I am thrilled to introduce Maurie Hill, who is having her Stargardt disease (a form of early-onset macular degeneration) treated with retinal cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. I was going to write about her experience (and I will), but she is a great writer, and she and the Ai Squared Blog are sharing her story here. Welcome Maurie! (more…)

Human Stem Cells from Amniotic Fluid

July 4, 2012

Tags: human embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, transcriptome, amniotic stem cells, valproic acid

Stem cells from amniotic fluid are like Russian nesting dolls -- they are derived from the cells that would become sperm or eggs in a fetus.
A new source of human stem cells reminds me of Russian nesting dolls: They come from amniotic fluid. When exposed to a seizure drug (valproic acid), they divide to give rise to cells that can specialize as nearly any cell type – they are “pluripotent,” like embryonic stem (ES) cells. But the new stem cells are most like precursor cells in a fetus that become sperm and eggs. And so the cells derived from an organ in a pregnant woman might otherwise, if paired with the opposite type of sex cell, have become her grandchildren! (more…)

Stem Cell Ups and Downs

February 12, 2011

Tags: stem cells, human embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, iPS cells, reprogrammed cells, embryo, fetus, intestine, Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome

We expect too much of stem cells. The February 3 issue of Nature reveals both a setback and a stupendous achievement in the field.

An article in the news section takes induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) down (more…)

instruction
Project to engage students in helping families with rare genetic diseases
Book Club Reader's Guide
Many challenging questions to stimulate thought and discussion.
Instructor's Guide
38 discussion questions to get students thinking and talking about gene therapy, including the science, ethical issues, and the drug approval process.
Narrative science
The Forever Fix is the uplifting true story of 8-year-old Corey Haas, who was cured of hereditary blindness just 4 days after gene therapy.
College Textbooks
A spectacularly-illustrated, clearly written human anatomy and physiology textbook, used in pre-health profession programs throughout the U.S.
A highly engaging, clearly written, beautifully illustrated introduction to the science of human genetics for the non-scientist. Now in its 10th edition.
Nonfiction
An ideal starting point for anyone who wants to know more about genes, DNA, genomes, and the genetic ties that bind us all.

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