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Human Astrocytes Developed From Stem Cells

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the engineer-a-better-you dept.

Biotech 92

RogerRoast writes "Astrocytes are the most ubiquitous cells in the brain. They perform critical support function to the neurons. These cells are also implicated in several human brain disorders. The U of Wisconsin researchers developed a method to create these cells from stem cells. According to the lead author Dr Zhang, 'not a lot of attention has been paid to these cells because human astrocytes have been hard to get, but we can make billions or trillions of them from a single stem cell.' The technology developed by the Wisconsin group lays a foundation to make all the different species of astrocytes. It may be possible to genetically engineer them to mimic disease so that previously inaccessible neurological conditions can be studied in the lab."

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planetary destruction drags on, no quick fix (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215322)

the world as we know it ended I'm more than a dozen states this weak.

the other side of the world appears to be disassembling at a similarly 'enhanced' rate, you can continue to call it 'weather' if it makes you feel safe. disarming our rulers would be a last gasp consideration for some.

Re:planetary destruction drags on, no quick fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215350)

I need a -0.666 WTF? moderation option.

Re:planetary destruction drags on, no quick fix (1)

bipedalhominid (1828798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215888)

I'm with you, that's just crazy talk. If ya don't understand the article just say so.

Re:planetary destruction drags on, no quick fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36218134)

Remember, wherever you go there you are.

Interfering with Providence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215332)

If God wanted Man to have stem cells, he'd have mentioned that someplace in Genesis. We already have Frankenfood. Stop this madness before we start getting FrankenBrains too. Really.

Re:Interfering with Providence (1, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215340)

If God wanted man to fly, he'd have given him wings.
If God wanted man to travel outside the planet, he'd have given him the ability to breath in space.
If God wanted man to live through a heart attack, he'd have given him an internal defibrillator.
If God wanted man to travel the oceans, he'd have given him flippers.

Seems to me that what "God wants" is an inherently outdated list of things that we deliberately break, through choice, every day.

Basically, if "God wants" me to do something, chances are I'm not going to do it - not out of some inherent disobedience but because doing those things is SENSIBLE and pushes the human race forward.

Re:Interfering with Providence (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215366)

If God wanted man to fly, he'd have given him wings. If God wanted man to travel outside the planet, he'd have given him the ability to breath in space. If God wanted man to live through a heart attack, he'd have given him an internal defibrillator. If God wanted man to travel the oceans, he'd have given him flippers.

Here's another one for the list, but with opposite implication:
"If God wanted us to go around naked, we'd be born that way" - Oscar Wilde.

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215402)

"If God wanted us to go around naked, we'd be born that way" - Oscar Wilde.

Pedantic mode on: can you please provide a proper citation? Like what interview, article, book, etc.
(are you sure is Oscar Wilde?)

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215458)

Well, google tells me it might be Mark Twain :

Quote page [easylit.com]

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215856)

Yeah, but Uncyclopedia says it's Oscar Wilde.

Re:Interfering with Providence (0)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36216156)

Oh yeah? Well my dad can beat up your dad!

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215548)

I've done some websearches on the matter, and 1) the quote comes around phrased in various slightly different ways, all attributed to Oscar Wilde, 2) there is no source to be found for the quote(s) at all and 3) the quote(s) are also attributed to various other people, including Marc Twain, all also unsourced.
I also think the quip is so obvious that it must have existed almost as long as the "if the gods had wanted us to do X they would have given us Y" argument. And "the best way to sound authoritative, is to drop a well-known name." - Benjamin Franklin

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215710)

Proper citation? If you are not going to go look for it, then how would you know if the answer posted is correct or not?
It was Kirk: Captain's log, stardate 3715.3
In this case I don't think it matters who said it or when. The point is still a valid one.
If you wanted to correct him and say some other person said that and then give a citation, go for it.
Don't give a citation..

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36222718)

If you wanted to correct him and say some other person said that and then give a citation, go for it.

I only asked for info (maybe in the name of an exaggerated precision... this is why is called pedantic mode, you know?).
I googled the phrase, couldn't decide the origin, took my chances and asked: maybe somebody actually knows for sure.

Following you on the "straw man" slope: why are you so inclined to take a question as a covert action of casting doubt on the message or poster? Can't questions be just that: questions and nothing more?
(how does it feel to have words put in your mouth?)

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 3 years ago | (#36231190)

I only asked for info

And it was a fair question. In fairness to you, I did search a bit but did not find an attribution with a proper citation.

It's one of those quotes I've come across many times on the web and did not bother to try tracking down before. Most places attribute it to Oscar Wilde, and one or two attribute it to Mark Twain. Perhaps it has been attributed to others also. It's certainly a pithy and witty comment which one could imagine either of those gentlemen coming up with. However, it is not listed among the quotes attributed to either of them in any of the compilations I checked (wikiquotes, brainyquotes, bartleby, etc.), some of which do cite sources.

Re:Interfering with Providence (2)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215498)

You're missing the tie-breaker: Recurrent Laryngeal Nerve. This loops from your 10th vertebrae down into the chest cavity, under the aorta, and back up to the larynx.

The only answers to this from religion are either "bad design" implying that God is fallible and can make mistakes, or "God works in mysterious ways / is testing our faith" which are thought-terminating cliches.

Re:Interfering with Providence (2)

smelch (1988698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36216188)

Are you an idiot? Of couse God had to move the fucking nerve so it wouldn't get hit when Reagan was shot. If he can't speak, how can he be the Great Communicator?

Re:Interfering with Providence (1, Funny)

glwtta (532858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215538)

If God wanted Man to have stem cells, he'd have mentioned that someplace in Genesis.

I don't know, growing a human from an adult's rib - sure sounds like transdifferentiation of hematopoietic stem cells to me. Or did god just happen to choose one of the tissues that contain adult stem cells?

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215718)

A God just happen to choose. Sounds a lot like chance to me. I will worship the random chance god too.

Re:Interfering with Providence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215790)

ahh yes, quantum probability God.

He's a weird one.

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218048)

I call these "My Dice".

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218434)

very nice, now please cover yourself. :)

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215642)

He did. However, our ancestors didn't understand it and removed that part, assuming it was some nonsense someone smuggled in. :-)

Thank you, Harold Camping! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215864)

For showing us the true nature of faith. http://twitpic.com/5162pm

Re:Interfering with Providence (1)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 3 years ago | (#36218232)

Wow, you put out that strawman and look how all the suckers showed up to burn it for you!

Now *that* (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215336)

is News for Nerds.

Re:Now *that* (2)

a_hanso (1891616) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215620)

Aye. If I understand http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrocyte#Functions [wikipedia.org] right, if neurons are the transistors, astrocytes are the wiring, circuit board and sundry capacitors/resistors. Disclaimer: I'm neither a neuroscience nor an electronics major.

Re:Now *that* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36216334)

IAANS, and I would rather suggest that many neurons (especially pyramidal) be thought of as a sort of set of transistors. Astrocytes might be considered more like power transformers. Perhaps they could also be considered as surge protectors? That would be more of a stretch.

Re:Now *that* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215682)

Agreed, but also an entire article without one mention of Obama or Palin's opinion on the matter.

A refreshing change.

Re:Now *that* (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215846)

Just you wait, in 30 years time we will be the jocks and the new nerds will have craniums twice the normal size. They will mock our puny intellects from their 7 foot tall vantage point, then don their robes and wizard hats before going off to have sex with the other blond haired blue eyed cosmetic-commercial-perfect super nerds.

Kaaaaaaaaaaaaahn!

Re:Now *that* (1)

SilasMortimer (1612867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36219934)

Gary Larson had prescience years ago to see that, with their superior cranial size, it will be trivial to put these super-nerds in a headlock.

Just one of the very many bits of wisdom to remember from The Far Side.

Re:Now *that* (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 3 years ago | (#36225868)

I, for one, welcome our new double sized cranium super nerd overlords providing they think up ways to do things that don't require my physical labour.

Re:Now *that* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215942)

Dr Zhang, Dr Zhong, Dr Ching Chang Chong.
Sritty eye to round eye: buy buy buy!

Harro me rikey techrocracy.
Me show you how freedom turn out for you.

You dismiss as lacist today?
That OK.
You serve me tomorrow.

Did anyone else read.... (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215344)

Human Atrocities Developed from Stem Cells

surely I can think of a few.

Re:Did anyone else read.... (1)

complete loony (663508) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215424)

Yep, that's what I came here to post, but you beat me to it.

Re:Did anyone else read.... (1)

am 2k (217885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215470)

I actually read "Human Acolytes Developed from Stem Cells" and was a bit puzzled.

Re:Did anyone else read.... (1)

theUgly (2191162) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215810)

thats what i read too!

Re:Did anyone else read.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215500)

I read aristocrats.

Re:Did anyone else read.... (2)

ldobehardcore (1738858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215646)

I read it Astrocycles Like exercycles on the space station

Awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215354)

Now can we fix stupid?

Re:Awesome (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215670)

For stupid coming from defective hardware, this might be the road to fixing it. However, I think most stupidity is a software problem. Bad software is rarely fixed by throwing more hardware on it.

(And for those who now feel the urge to point out that the human brain isn't a computer: If you can't infer what I mean you might need a software upgrade. :-))

Re:Awesome (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215872)

No, I was going to point out that throwing more hardware at badly written software is *exactly* what happens in large swathes of the real world.

Re:Awesome (1)

Merls the Sneaky (1031058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215684)

No, the mind virus "religion" will still exist. Many of those afflicted will resist this treatment as it includes stem cells.

Re:Awesome (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220242)

Many of those who consider themselves "religious" are smart enough to know that there are two types of stem cells: embryonic and adult stem cells. We only have issue with the embryonic cells due to the method generally used to collect them (abortions). Many are reasonable enough (including myself) to have no issue with cells harvested from the afterbirth of normal non-abortive births - the issue is that using cells from abortions creates a demand for cells from abortions, which in turn creates a social benefit from abortions, which then encourages abortion in general. By removing the benefits gleaned by science from aborted children, you remove the very issue which drives the anti-stem cell movement, and society as a whole can just get on with the science of curing diseases.

Please learn to be less bigoted towards people of faith, as we are as varied in belief as the world is varied in race, culture, and language.

They won't like this one one bit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215466)

Pretty soon I'll be able to implant a ganglia into my penis, literally giving it a "mind of its own."

Re:They won't like this one one bit. (1)

bipedalhominid (1828798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215904)

Have to find it first.

Re:They won't like this one one bit. (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215982)

OMG No! It already does enough independent decision-making as it is.

Re:They won't like this one one bit. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36216198)

Exactly. Such a modification would make us total penis zombies, shuffling around and groaning "VAAAAAAJEEEE...."

If anything we need to find a way to add some kind of override to prevent conflicts with the main control system.

Re:They won't like this one one bit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36216312)

If anything we need to find a way to add some kind of override to prevent conflicts with the main control system.

We already have that. It's called "chemical castration".

Inaccessible neurological conditions? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215496)

It may be possible to genetically engineer them to mimic disease so that previously inaccessible neurological conditions can be studied in the lab.

Hey, they've only been inaccessible because we've been unwilling to do to a few unlucky people what we do to lab animals all the time: put them down and harvest their diseased brains for research. It's for the Common Good of Man!

Re:Inaccessible neurological conditions? (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215672)

Hm, I'm curious to exactly what in your brain causes you be such a sociopath. Perhaps you should go first?

Re:Inaccessible neurological conditions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215736)

What's factually 'wrong' with being a sociopath? I care as much about other people as I do about other species. I don't believe either one is factually superior to the others for some arbitrary reason. I don't see why humans shouldn't be used as test animals if the chance presents itself (if it furthers our goals).

Re:Inaccessible neurological conditions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215800)

What is wrong with being a sociopath? I dunno, you suggest the systematic murder and possible torture (the 'test animals' part there)of other human beings who have done nothing wrong other than having the bad luck to contract a horrible disease. Perhaps there is something 'factually' wrong with that.

Re:Inaccessible neurological conditions? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36216316)

I dunno, you suggest the systematic murder and possible torture (the 'test animals' part there)of other human beings who have done nothing wrong other than having the bad luck to contract a horrible disease.

The alternative opinion is that society would allow those who are incapable of contributing to society in any meaningful way to have a lasting and important impact on the future of humanity by helping to prevent or cure debilitating diseases. Some people who feel that they have no purpose in life, due to debilitating / terminal illness, may be grateful for that opportunity, which you would deny them based upon your own maybe misguided morality.

FYI, I often take the position of "Devil's Advocate" purely in the interest of debate. This may, or may not, be my actual opinion.

Re:Inaccessible neurological conditions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215808)

Sociopath: someone who realizes that greater than 51 percent of all people are horrible.

Re:Inaccessible neurological conditions? (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215886)

On the one hand, I kindof agree with the cold engineering take on it. On the other hand, I'm well aware that I'll suddenly like it a whole damn lot less when it turns out to be someone I care about. Being able to project 'who I care about' to 'who someone else cares about' is of course where the sociopath has trouble.

Re:Inaccessible neurological conditions? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215850)

Either I'm a sociopath or you're too literalistic....

Medical Applications (4, Interesting)

jkflying (2190798) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215530)

Astrocytes are linked with the repair of spinal cord injuries. And as of 2008 stem cells can be made from pretty much any normal adult cell http://www.nature.com/stemcells/2008/0810/081030/full/stemcells.2008.142.html [nature.com] .

The possibilities for the rehab of spinal cord injury patients is enough to make this an easy application of stem cell research, which might just earn the stem cell researchers some much needed good publicity from Washington.

Re:Medical Applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215894)

Whilst it is true that iPS cells can be readily generated from somatic cells there is a problem highlighted recently in Nature:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vnfv/ncurrent/full/nature10135.html

Rejection by the host of its own iPS cells as they express the inappropriate (from the perspective of the immune system), early embryonic gene Oct4. Until this is dealt with medical applications are likely to be limited.

Re:Medical Applications (0)

Kozz (7764) | more than 3 years ago | (#36216348)

...which might just earn the stem cell researchers some much needed good publicity from Washington.

*ahem* The researchers are associated with University of Wisconsin! Not Washington (the "other UW").

[/alumnus mode]

Re:Medical Applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36217654)

"good publicity from Washington" = big fat Federal research grant, not exposure for the university they're at... Sounds like someone's got an alumnus-inferiority complex.

Re:Medical Applications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36217712)

"which might just earn the stem cell researchers some much needed good publicity from Washington."

Good publicity? From Washington? I can see it now...

"These terrorist cells are multiplying rapidly..."

Significance of Astrocytes (4, Informative)

asnelt (1837090) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215534)

There has been a lot of discussion lately about the importance of astrocytes. I didn't know that they are linked to certain neurological diseases. But at least for information processing they seem to be quite unimportant. There is a study that was published in Science where the researchers basically knocked out the signaling of all astrocytes in mice and the behaviour of the animals changed only marginally. A summary of this debate was published last year in an open access article in Nature: http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101110/full/468160a.html [nature.com]

Re:Significance of Astrocytes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215786)

They are important for other things. In glaucoma, it is known that astrocytes respond to elevated inter-ocular pressure. It is believed that one of their responses to this is send out signal that kill nearby neurons. Even if not, they are believed to be part of the nutritional support of the optic nerve (at the lamina cribrosa), and that their response to elevated inter-ocular pressure may disrupt this in some way.

Adult vs. embryonic (2)

one2meny (875548) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215668)

The article linked to says both. Shame on slashdot not being more specific as there's a world of difference between adult stem cells and embryonic in behavior post creation and transformation. Anybody know what the percentages were and the success of each type as far as remaining "safe" after the creation?

Re:Adult vs. embryonic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36221850)

Not adult stem cells, iPS cells. Adult stem cells aren't pluripotent. They appear to have used two cell lines of ESCs and one of iPSCs, so that might reflect overall % of cells used. They don't seem to have analysed (or published the analysis) of relative success in differentiation with each cell line, which is a little odd to my mind. As for "safe", well, define "safe".

This is against God's will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215778)

This type of activity is entirely against God's will, and the sinners will be punished. This is exactly why people hate us.

Re:This is against God's will. (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215822)

I wonder if you'd still want to say that when you or a loved one gets dementia or Alzheimer's.

Re:This is against God's will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36215848)

God will not punish us like that. It is for the sinners to suffer.

Re:This is against God's will. (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220316)

Stop trolling. Please. If you're serious in your belief, you're doing absolutely no good trying to spout it off here, as you're coming across as an idiot rather than an intelligent person with something to contribute. Please don't make it harder for the rest of us out there who have faith to be able to hold intelligent discourse with other non-believing human beings.

Thank you for your time.

Re:This is against God's will. (1)

Thing 1 (178996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36222630)

Aaaaaaand, we are all sinners. Nice circular definition, that.

Astroturfing (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215794)

Is a symptom of the death of these cells.

Wait, what? (1)

Nominei (1998390) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215804)

I read this as "human atrocities developed from stem cells".

Is there anything stem cells can't do?

Acolytes (1)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | more than 3 years ago | (#36215930)

I thought they said "Acolytes". Was I the only Warcraft player to immediately wonder what kind of magic this breed of Undead could do?

Re:Acolytes (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217188)

I thought they said aristocrats.

Aristocrat zombies, that could be interesting...

Re:Acolytes (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36220336)

I thought they said aristocrats.

Aristocrat zombies, that could be interesting...

I was thinking "The Aristocrats" too... but more in the horribly raunchy joke form.

dangerous stuff? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36216036)

"make billions or trillions of them from a single stem cell" --isn't this what cancer does? I would be wary of playing with this s**t.

Astrocytes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36216038)

For a moment I thought we'd finally found the cause for the demented and delusional thought-patterns that cause Space Nuttery.

So Why USA? (1)

Jahava (946858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36216336)

The U of Wisconsin researchers developed a method to create these cells from stem cells.

Alright, not trolling here, just genuinely curious. My understanding, at last via information gleaned from Slashdot and other news-oriented sites, was that the US government contributes very little (relatively speaking) to the field of Stem Cell research; not only that, but they have tons of laws in place to complicate and/or hamstring such research, and the research is politically unpopular. It sounds like the USA should more or less fall off the face of the map in terms of groundbreaking Stem Cell research...

Why, then, does it also seem like a significant number of breakthroughs in the Stem Cell research field is still occurring in the States? Is the media overblowing the neglect, does USA research just persevere in the face of adversity, or is there some alternative system (patents, universities, academia, etc.) set up that allows us to sidestep these seemingly-crippling obstacles?

If the political taboo was alleviated and the restrictions removed, would we do even better? Just curious to hear some thoughts on the subject...

Re:So Why USA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36216498)

there is a sharp distinction between embryonic and adult stem cell research. The US federal limitations were on embryonic stem research. They actually fund quite a lot of adult stem cell research. Although the details are sketchy on this one (they used both?) almost all recent stories from the US on successful use of stem cells has involved adult stem cells.

Re:So Why USA? (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | more than 3 years ago | (#36216994)

You are allowed to use "existing lines" of stem cells and still get federal funding. Additionally, if federal funding is eschewed in favor of private funding, there is no issue. Finally since the rapture happened on May 21st, there are no more fundamentalist Christians in office to block stem cell funding, so we are all looking forward to some positive policy changes (sorry couldn't resist that one).

Re:So Why USA? (1)

Doctorer (1017662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36224290)

Misleading initial claim. The funding restrictions apply to embryonic stem cells (ie lines sourced from aborted human fetuses) - no such restrictions hinder research involving "adult stem cells" (human pluripotent stem cells). hPSCs have proven far more effective in terms of positive results, but attracts very little attention compared to the far less successful embryonic stem cell research.

Re:So Why USA? (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#36217148)

The US government doesn't ban the use of embryonic stem cells, they simply aren't providing the funding for it. Other organizations are free to do so. In addition, a ton of research is being done with adult stem cells and if I'm not mistaken, the government does fund that kind of research. And the fact is that this country throws far, far more money at medical research than pretty much any other country on Earth. So either way the breakthroughs are inevitable.

Re:So Why USA? (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 3 years ago | (#36221408)

I would assume too that, in the long run, adult stem cell research will be of more value for providing compatible stem cells for whetever fix is needed by a body.

Re:So Why USA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36218740)

You have to look at where the results are coming from. The "significant number of breakthroughs" you're talking about almost mostly come from either the University of California system (who has loads of state and private money for the research) or the University of Wisconsin.

All four authors of the linked study are affiliated with the Waisman Center. The Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin includes the specialized separate facilities to handle the can't-be-funded-by-the-government (privately funded) stem cell research. (My understanding is that it was a bitch to set up, as you have to show that even the janitor who empties the wastepaper baskets for the place isn't being paid off of the government dime.) It's where James Thomson (the person who first derived human embryonic stem cells) works/worked, and where the majority of the Bush-approved stem cell lines were derived (pre-Bush approval).

All in all, it's a somewhat "specialized" environment to be working in. The argument is that there would be even *more* results if stem cell regulations were relaxed enough such that places that don't have the clout & resources of the UC system or the UW were able to do research on them.

Re:So Why USA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36232190)

Because all these breakthroughs are using adult or pluripotent stem cells, which nobody has a problem with. The ethically problematic embryonic stem cells have not produced any positive results.

embryo killings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36216526)

Holocaust.

Misread: (1)

SethThresher (1958152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36216754)

I misread the article title as "Human Atrocities Developed From Stem Cells".

hPSCs in the abstract, but not the article? (1)

Doctorer (1017662) | more than 3 years ago | (#36224260)

I found it interesting that while the article (second link) claims that these can be induced from both "embryonic and induced human" stem cells, the abstract of the paper itself (first link) names only "human pluripotent stem cells" (ie "adult stem cells") and makes no mention of embryonic cells.

Both links refer to the one study, by the same people, so why does the second mention embryonic stem cells when the paper itself (or at least, the abstract) does not?

Sounds like dirty scientific politics to me.

hES-derived astrocytes already exist on market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36231342)

You can already buy commercial hES-derived astrocytes -- for in vitro use. Here is a link. http://www.invitrogen.com/site/us/en/home/Products-and-Services/Applications/Cell-Culture/primary_cell_culture/Neuronal-Cell-Culture/human-astrocytes.html

Re: the medical applications, Life Technologies (which owns Gibco/Invitrogen) is already looking at human therapeutics for spinal cords using these astroglial cells. I'm not sure where in the process of those studies things are, but it was mentioned in the same Nat Biotech journal as the Zhang lab paper.

The Zhang lab is extremely good, and I like this paper a lot. Particularly the basic research / developmental biology / cell biology angles that industry doesn't usually look at. Cool supplemental movies too. But 6 months to differentiate a cell type that I can order online? Hmmm...

Signed,
Biology Nerd Who Should Probably Get a Slashdot Account :)

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