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Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicines Symposium

NC State’s Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research is hosting a symposium on Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicines from 1 to 5:30 p.m. at the Park Alumni Center on Friday.  A reception will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

This is an important One Medicine event and demonstrates NC State’s leadership with attendees coming from Duke, UNC, Wake Forest University, and other academic, corporate, and research organizations. One of the presenters is Dr. Anthony Atala of Wake Forest who did the “Growing Body Parts” interview on 60 Minutes recently.


There will be more than 20 presentations during the afternoon and Dr. Natasha Olby’s presentation on her spinal cord  transplantation research should be of great interest.

A recent story on NPR talked about the possibilities: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131658839

Suppose you could repair tissue damaged by a heart attack by magically turning other cells into heart muscle, so the organ could pump effectively again.

Scientists aren’t quite ready to do that. But they are reporting early success at transforming one kind of specialized cell directly into another kind, a feat of biological alchemy that doctors may one day perform inside a patient’s body.

“I think everyone believes this is really the future of so-called stem-cell biology,” says John Gearhart of the University of Pennsylvania, one of many researchers pursuing this approach.

The concept is two steps beyond the familiar story of embryonic stem cells, versatile entities that can be coaxed to become cells of all types, like brain and blood. Scientists are learning to guide those transformations, which someday may provide transplant tissue for treating diseases like Parkinson’s or diabetes.

It’s still experimental. But at its root, it’s really just harnessing and speeding up what happens in nature: a versatile but immature cell matures into a more specialized one.


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