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Minnesota invests in regenerative medicine

Last year, the 2014 Minnesota legislative session brought a big win for regenerative medicine, as legislators passed a bill allotting nearly $50 million over 10 years for regenerative medicine research, clinical translation and commercialization efforts.

Some of that research funding has now been awarded to Bruce Walcheck, Ph.D., professor in the University of Minnesota Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, whose proposal was one of six funded out of 90 applications. Bruce is the principal investigator on a new $500,000 grant for research on engineering human pluripotent stem cells to generate enhanced natural killer cells for cancer therapy. The ultimate goal: treating cancer using the patient’s immune system.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Does accreditation impact centers of hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT)?

There are two hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) center-accrediting organizations in the nation, the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT) and core Clinical Trial Network certification (CTN).

In a recent study conducted by Schelomo Marmor, PhD, M.P.H., from University of Minnesota Department of Surgery, Marmor assessed if these accreditations improved clinical care and survival for HCT, a complex treatment viable for several hematological disease groups.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: Stem cells’ role in reprogramming the brain after a stroke

Continuing with Health Talk’s coverage of May Stroke Awareness Month, today we’ll take a closer look at an ongoing study that uses stems cells to reprogram the brain after a stroke.

In the wake of a stroke, neurons within the brain are damaged. Using stems cells and stem cell technology, researchers in the Val, V. Richard Zarling, Earl Grande Stroke and Stem Cell Laboratory, within the Department of Neurosurgery and the University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute, are exploring ways to replace and regenerate damaged neurons in the brain that will ultimately lead to functional improvement of those neurons.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Research Snapshot: U of M researchers pinpoint efficient new method to produce cardiomyocytes

Each year, more people die worldwide from ischaemic heart disease than any other condition. This type of coronary artery disease is linked to a reduced blood supply to the heart.

Cardiac experts believe this type of heart disease happens because the cells that make up the heart muscle, cardiomyocytes, stop dividing and replenishing shortly after birth. A big push in research around this issue centers on creating cardiomyocytes to replace the cells failing within the heart, but because the body is no longer regenerating these naturally, they need to be developed by reprogramming other cells.

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research-and-clinical-trials

U of M researchers find novel gene correction model for Epidermolysis Bullosa

A research team led by pediatric blood and marrow transplantation experts Mark Osborn, Ph.D. and Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D. from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, have discovered a remarkable new way to repair genetic defects in the skin cells of patients with the skin disease epidermolysis bullosa.

The findings, published today in the journal Molecular Therapy and highlighted in the most recent issue of Nature, represent the first time researchers been able to correct a disease-causing gene in its natural location in the human genome using engineered transcription activator-like effector nucleases.

Epidermolysis bullosa (EB) is a skin disease caused by genetic mutations. Patients suffering from EB – primarily children – lack the proteins that hold the epidermis and dermis together, which leads to painful blistering and sores. The condition is often deadly. The University of Minnesota is an international leader in the treatment of EB and the research that has led to new treatment approaches.

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research-and-clinical-trials

Masonic Cancer Center researchers develop an improved process for natural killer cell production

A recent study led by researchers from the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota, found a process for mass-producing human natural killer (NK) cells, white blood cells that are known for attacking malignant tumors, to make them available for clinical-scale use.

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