Alumni Weekend 2017: Glorious weather, vibrant events bring Slugs home

Date: 
Monday, May 1, 2017
Author: 
Dan White, University Relations
Going back to school

During their Teach-In about the exciting possibilities of stem cell research, professors Lindsay Hinck, Camilla Forsberg, and Daniel Kim explained how stem cells worked before going into the details of their research.

Quite simply, “stem cells make other cells, with a unique ability to ‘self-renew’ (make more stem cells) and ‘differentiate’ (make other cells),” said Forsberg.

Stem cells “know” how to make heart and liver and all the cell types in the body, which is why there are so many exciting possibilities, Forsberg said.

“So the potential is to permanently cure disease in one single treatment as opposed to taking a pill or drug or undergo multiple treatments. If we can train stem cells to behave normally in our bodies, it is a one-time shot that lasts forever. What is better than a cure? Never get sick!”

While researchers can now make “pluripotent” cells that can make any other cell in the body, scientists must increase their understanding of how this process works. “To know how to engineer a cell, you have to know all the parts,” said Kim, while showing a daunting diagram of a disassembled car, a mess of doors, wheels, and tiny screws. "It is a complicated system. To engineer this car you need to understand every component.”

The more researchers learn about these cells, the more that knowledge can be applied to promising new treatments for cancer, neural degenerative diseases, and injuries, training the next generation of scientists to improve human health, the presenters said.
The full article can be found here...

Alumni Weekend Teach-In: Rejuvenate Now: Stem Cells at UC Santa Cruz