Notable Research News and Publications

Disruption of HIV-1 co-receptors CCR5 and CXCR4 in primary human T cells and hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells using base editing.

Stem Cell Institute faculty Mark Osborn, Jakub Tolar, and Bruce Blazar teamed up to use state of the art gene editing techniques to protect immune cells and blood stem cells from HIV -1 infection.  They were able to successfully turn off the expression of proteins that HIV-1 particles require to invade their target cells and destroy them, which leads to the devastating Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS).  Osborn and his colleagues were able to eliminate the expression of these HIV-1 entry receptor proteins in hematopoietic progenitor cells, which could offer significant potential for a curative treatment through bone marrow transplants using such gene-edited, HIV-1 resistant blood stem cells. Read the published paper.

Laminin 411 mediates endothelial specification via multiple signaling axes that converge on β-catenin

Stem Cell Institute Director, Brenda Ogle, Biomedical Engineering PhD students Sophie Givens and Mikayla Hall and others have conducted a study showing that laminin 411 alone increases endothelial differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells over collagen I or Matrigel.  The study also showed that extracellular matrix-guided endothelial differentiation depends on activation of focal adhesion kinase, integrin-linked kinase, Notch, and β-catenin pathways. These results indicate that the extracellular matrix contributes to endothelial differentiation through multiple avenues, which converge at the expression of active β-catenin.  Read the published paper about the study.

Differentiation of human iPS cells into sensory neurons exhibits developmental stage-specific cryopreservation challenges

A new study published by Allison Hubel and James Dutton of the Stem Cell Institute explores the challenges of cryopreserving peripheral neurons manufactured using human stem cells. They have developed a cryopreservation strategy that yields highly viable and functional sensory nerve cells, paving the way for further development of the use of stem cell-derived cells to treat human disease and dysfunction.  Read the published paper.

Differentiation of immortalized human multi-lineage progenitor to alveolar type 2-like cells: angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 expression and binding of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 spike and spike 1 proteins

Clifford Steer and Mark Osborn, Stem Cell Institute faculty members, developed a process to differentiate human umbilical cord blood stem cells into a long-lived lung cell line that can be used as a stable and renewable tool to study the binding of viruses like SARS-CoV-2 to their target cells, and to develop therapeutic strategies to combat such infections. Read the published paper.

Harnessing features of adaptive NK cells to generate iPSC-derived NK cells for enhanced immunotherapy

Bruce Walcheck and Bruce Blazar, SCI faculty members, collaborated with colleagues at the University of Minnesota, University of Oslo, and Fate Therapeutics to generate a triple gene-edited induced Pluripotent Stem Cell line that could be differentiated into Natural Killer cells that exhibited strong antitumor activity and persisted in vivo.  This clonal cell line could provide an abundant source of cells for off-the-shelf therapies for patients with advanced cancer. Read the published paper.

Cardiac resident macrophages prevent fibrosis and stimulate angiogenesis

Stem Cell Institute faculty member, Jop van Berlo, MD, PhD collaborated with Xavier Revelo, PhD to study the role of macrophages in protecting the heart after injury.  They were focused on finding potential therapies for heart failure, but their findings could apply to a range of types of heart injury.   Read more and find a link to the published paper.