Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stem Cell Awareness Day

Governor Paterson of NY State has proclaimed September 23rd "Stem Cell Awareness Day". There is a website with beautiful photos of stem cells from some of my colleagues from around the state. Enjoy!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Great News on Stem Cells!

It's something long overdue--- federal support for human embryonic stem cell research. We've discussed many of the arguments pro and con. But in the end, science has to progress without the restrictions of religious ideology. And everyone, even those who believe that a 100-cell embryo is equivalent to a human baby, will benefit from the medical knowledge gained.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Baaaaack!

Thanks to Heather for bringing me back from hiatus.  Life is hectic with two jobs, located 70 miles apart.  But at least the gas prices have come down a bit.

I'm hopeful with the new administration coming in 2009 that stem cell research will be supported at the federal level in short order.  

Here is some recent good news on the use of stem cells to reconstruct a human trachea:  

Monday, May 26, 2008

Long Time, No Blog!

Greetings from Stem Cell Central!

I didn't realize how long it's been since my last post. The two jobs have been keeping me busy.

Here's the website for NYSTEM, the New York State stem cell initiative that was established in April 2007:

NYSTEM has recently put out a request for grant proposals for New York State stem cell researchers.

ALBANY, NY (May 8, 2008) Governor David A. Paterson today announced that nearly $109 million in new state funding is being made available to support stem cell research initiatives in New York. The nearly $109 million represents the second round of available funding from the state’s 11-year, $600 million stem cell research initiative that was approved as part of last year’s state budget.

Four Requests for Applications (RFAs) issued today invite proposals from in-state research institutions for stem cell research activities that encourage collaborations among scientists, facilitate the acquisition and development of specialized equipment, and support researcher-initiated and targeted stem cell research
It's great to see the New York State stem cell initiative come to fruition, thanks to the tireless efforts of so many advocates.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Oldies But Goodies

Cornea transplants are routine, with the highest success rates (97-99%) of any transplant procedure. In general, corneas for transplant are obtained from eyebank donors, aged 2-70. A recent study suggests that corneas from older donors may work as well as corneas from younger donors.

Some kinds of cornea damage and prior LASIK surgery disqualify corneas from being used as transplant material. As more and more people decide to undergo LASIK kinds of procedures, fewer corneas will qualify as transplant material. By increasing the potential donor age, it will help address potential shortages.

"We now have scientific evidence showing that older donors can be used reliably in corneal transplantation," said Dr. Edward Holland of the University of Cincinnati and one of the study's lead researchers.

The cornea is the clear covering for the front of the eye, crucial for helping it focus light. More than 39,000 corneal transplants were performed last year, according to the Eye Bank Association of America.

The nation has had an adequate supply so far. But specialists say there are international shortages, and eye banks fear U.S. supplies will tighten as a result of tougher Food and Drug Administration donor-safety rules that began last summer, increasing interest in older donors.

This is interesting in light of some of the research done in my own lab a few years ago, where we saw stem-like cells in corneas from 92-year old donors. It's amazing how the cornea is able to maintain its clarity and vitality throughout life....and even beyond.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Annual Marshmallow Peeps Post

I discovered this silly website a couple of years ago. It's still hysterical and especially appropriate for Easter week-end. It seems that some scientists (apparently with some time to kill in the lab) are conducting laboratory experiments on marshmallow peeps. They have an entire website devoted to their studies.

One particularly cute experiment was "the effect of alcohol and smoking on marshmallow peeps."

First, the peep was exposed to alcohol and did exhibit s
ome signs of inebriation, such as bumping into the walls of the swimming vessel:

Then, the peep was permitted to select a brand of cigarette and smoked without apparent ill effects:

However, when smoking and alcohol were combined, the effects were catastrophic:

Their conclusions: "The synergistic effect of smoking and alcohol in Peeps produces a rapidly exothermic oxidation reaction, leading to a chemical and morphological divergence from the wild-type Peep phenotypes."

The marshmallow peep appears to be an excellent experimental model for the synergistic effects of smoking and alcohol!