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ARRA Investments in Stem Cells

Public Health Burden
Diseases such as diabetes, heart failure and Parkinson’s disease affect millions of individuals, yet effective and safe treatments to restore or replace tissue or organ function due to these diseases are limited. Embryonic stem cells, adult progenitor cells, and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) hold promise for use in developing cell-based therapies for these diseases.

Basic Research
Embryonic stem cells, adult progenitor stem cells, and recently established iPSCs represent renewable sources of transplantable, fully functional cells that may be used to develop cell-based therapies to treat diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative disorders. Before stem cells and iPSCs can be used effectively and safely in regenerative medicine to repair or replace tissue or organ function lost due to age, disease, damage, or congenital defects, we need a better understanding of how stem cells and iPSCs differentiate and develop from a pluripotent state to a fully committed cell line or tissue. We also need to understand how tissues are normally maintained by their resident stem cells and how these processes change during growth, differentiation, aging, and in response to environmental factors.   The following ARRA awards are focused on research to further our understanding of stem cell biology:
  • Develop a novel experimental system using genetic tagging to study stem cell biology in aging and immunological disorders.1
  • Engineer a new model of the stem cell extracellular matrix to study the underlying biology of stem cell development, differentiation and utility in wound repair.2
  • Apply novel approaches to determine how changes in gene activity that are controlled by epigenetic processes contribute to stem cell pluripotency and differentiation, and can be exploited in regenerative medicine.3
  • Determine how genetic and environmental factors influence and control embryonic stem cell differentiation into pancreatic islet cells, paving the way for development of new cell-based therapies for diabetes.4
Diagnosis and Treatment
Understanding the fundamental biology of stem cell differentiation and tissue development can transform the treatment of human disease through the development of innovative new therapies that offer a faster, more complete recovery with significantly fewer side effects or risk of complications.   ARRA funded grants that focus on using stem cells and iPSCs to develop new cell-based therapies:
  • Determine the biological processes involved in human adult stem cell conversion into pluripotent cells and differentiation into new tissue to advance regenerative medicine to treat liver, blood, and pancreatic disorders.5
  • Provide new insights, methodologies and reagents for efficient nuclear reprogramming of human stem cells into safe and effective human iPSCs for regenerative medicine.6
  • Develop a more “humanized” mouse model by introducing human iPSCs into the mouse to study diseases of the blood and cardiovascular system and to develop and test new drug therapies.7

  1. 1DP2OD006472-01 -- Analysis of stem cell dynamics and differentiation by cellular barcoding -- Camargo, Fernando (MA)
  2. 3DP2OD004309-01S1 -- Engineering a dynamic extracellular matrix microenvironment -- Christman, Karen L. (CA)
  3. 1R01DK082430-01 -- Histone proline isomerization and gene regulation -- Kikyo, Nubuaki (MN)
  4. 1DP2OD006491-01 -- Defining mechanisms controlling stem cell fate during differentiation -- Banerjee, Ipsita (PA)
  5. 3DP1OD000805-03S1 -- NIH Director’s Pioneer Award -- Sherley, James L. (MA)
  6. 1RC2HL103400-01 -- NCE-based strategy for nuclear reprogramming and regenerative medicine -- Cooke, John P. (CA)
  7. 1RC2HL103465-01 -- Development of humanized models using human induced pluripotent stem cells -- Critser, John K. (MO)

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