Treating diabetes; turning skin cells into brain cells; hearts in a dish

International Society for Stem Cell Research 2018 Annual Meeting, Media bulletins


It’s Day 2 of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) 2018 Annual Meeting at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre: more than 2,500 stem cell scientists from 50 countries will hear from 150+ speakers, including:

Treating type 1 diabetes with stem cells
A Harvard team has shown they can control glucose levels in mice using a transplant of insulin-producing cells made from human stem cells. Doug Melton presents his research today.

His effort to fight diabetes involves a 30-person lab at Harvard and a start-up company, Semma Therapeutics, which he named after his children. His son Sam and daughter Emma both have type 1 diabetes.

Skin cells become brain cells to solve a mystery
Queensland researchers have taken skin cells from a young patient with a rare genetic brain condition and turned them into stem cells that are coaxed to become brain cells. Massimo Damiani has now passed away, but his legacy of growing  brain cells in the lab could help others with this rare condition.

Hearts in a dish helping personalised medicine
Christine Mummery and her Dutch research team have discovered that heart cells made from patient stem cells with known mutations predicted the electrical heart problems and drug sensitivities observed in the patients themselves.
Christine is co-author of the book Stem Cells: Scientific Facts and Fiction.

Helping a broken heart mend itself
Deepak Srivastava wants to break the vicious cycle of heart failure, where the loss of heart muscle from a heart attack leads to higher risk of further attacks and damage.

He and his UCSF colleagues are already coaxing resident adult heat muscle cells to divide and make more of themselves. But the heart is only half muscle. Now they’re working on the support cells.

They’ve successfully introduced three genes into the injured hearts of living mice, resulting in new muscle cells synchronised with the rest of the heart, improving their heart function.

New strategies for accelerating heart regeneration
Nadia Rosenthal’s research focuses on cardiac regeneration. Her current investigation into the crosstalk between cells at the scene of cardiac damage has revealed a complex network of signals and interactions that can now be harnessed to improve clinical outcomes in heart disease patients.

Nadia is the scientific director of the Jackson Laboratory in the USA. Previously, she was founding director of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute at Monash University.

For more information, visit or Follow @ISSCR or #ISSCR2018.

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We will keep you posted with highlights each day of the conference.

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