Chris Kamel

Posts by: Chris


Genomic instability in iPS cells

Author: Chris Kamel, 03/02/11

They’re promising, but not perfect. Induced pluripotent stem cells are perhaps one of the most studied areas of stem cell research today, as researchers work to improve their method of production, but new findings out of Canada and Finland suggests that the process of reprogramming may cause unwanted and irreversible DNA damage. As such, the…Read more

Horse-derived iPS cells

Author: Chris Kamel, 02/28/11

We’ve talked often about induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) on this blog — the transformation of adult terminally differentiated cells into stem cells that can differentiate into various lineages — mostly in the context of discoveries in mice and potential applications in regenerative therapy for humans. One thing mentioned less often is the use of stem cell…Read more

Genetic diversity in leukemia cells

Author: Chris Kamel, 01/24/11

Although tumours are typically thought of as a single entity, the cells that make up a tumour are genetically diverse. The traditional view of cancer progression — in which a tumour arises from a single cell after accumulated mutations — suggests that tumour cells, while genetically diverse due to selective pressures and other evolutionary forces,…Read more

Chemically induced pluripotent stem cells

Author: Chris Kamel, 12/09/10

Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are generally created by the expression of a small number of key genes to reprogram adult cells into an undifferentiated, pluripotent state. Because some of the transcription factors used for reprogramming are oncogenes, as well as concerns about mutagenesis due to genomic integration, scientists have been searching for improved methods…Read more

Watching the watchers

Author: Chris Kamel, 11/20/10

Because of some vocal opposition, stem cell research is no stranger to controversy. Usually this comes in the form of protests or government lobbying, but Nature News is reporting the story of a group that is trying to discredit the scientists themselves. The anonymous group, calling themselves Stem Cell Watch, has sent out emails calling…Read more

Skip the iPS middle man: Direct conversion of skin fibroblasts to blood progenitors

Author: Chris Kamel, 11/07/10

Though methods to convert adult cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells continue to improve, transition from the lab bench to the clinic can be a trickier proposition. Due to imperfect efficiency, each manipulation — conversion of adult cell to iPS cell to cell lineage of choice — decreases the yield of the cells of…Read more

The tell-tale heart: Firefly genes for stem cell tracking

Author: Chris Kamel, 10/19/10

As mentioned in a previous post, in order to fully understand what’s happening when stem cells are used for in clinical or in vivo research, we need some way to track them, preferably in a non-invasive manner. This can be done with either reporter genes or some sort of traceable label, and would allow researchers…Read more

RNA-induction: A new method for iPS cell production

Author: Chris Kamel, 10/14/10

The reprogramming of differentiated adult cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells is accomplished by the expression of a small number of key genes. This is typically done by introducing DNA either by transfection or with viral vectors. Current methods, unfortunately, are not very efficient and run the risk of mutagenesis as a result of…Read more

Enhancing cancer stem cell drugs

Author: Chris Kamel, 09/14/10

When cells are subject certain types of mild stress, it activates a protein called NF-κB and downstream pathways that can lead to future stress resistance in a process called pre-conditioning. This is useful for preparing cells for transplant into harsh environments. But there are other situations where you don’t want these same survival proteins active…Read more

Ghosts of stem cells past

Author: Chris Kamel, 09/02/10

One of the coolest breakthroughs of the last five years is the ability to reprogram adult, differentiated cells into pluripotent cells, effectively allowing us to change one cell type into virtually any other. Reprogramming is achieved by expression of a set of genes that yield induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), which have many of…Read more