Female scientists from NSCI- Dr. Liz Fisher, Dr. Xiuli Zhao, and Christy Allen recently took part in the Flying Cloud Institute’s, Young Women In Science, STEM Summer Practicum Program. This program is aimed at inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM through innovative collaborations with mentors in the field. The program held at Bard College at Simon’s Rock featured the female scientists teaching interactive and highly engaging activities. They worked with the participants to build an eye using a Fresnel lens and index card, which they used to demonstrate the properties of the cornea, iris, and retina. Next, they explored the anatomy of the eye by dissecting a cow eye and learning how the different parts function.
We would like to congratulate Alima Ahmed for winning the Biomedical Sciences Excellence Award. This prestigious award recognizes the outstanding achievement of high school students in biomedical sciences research. While Alima is a student volunteer in the Boles Lab at the Neural Stem Cell Institute, she is also a junior at Shaker High School, Latham, NY. The award includes a scholarship valued at $20,000 given by the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. She won the award in March 2018 at the Greater Capital Region Science and Engineering Fair held at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Most importantly, the yearly event brings together high school students from across the Capital Region and provides an opportunity for students to showcase their STEM-based research. Her hard work and dedication make her a worthy recipient of this award. We look forward to her future accomplishments.
Breakthroughs in Regenerative Eye Research Closer Than You Think
RENSSELAER N.Y., June 08, 2018 – As the field of regenerative medicine has progressed to deliver breakthroughs throughout medicine; leading discoveries have been made in ophthalmology. A recent article published in Cell Stem Cell (Volume 22, Number 6), Regenerating Eye Tissues to Preserve and Restore Vision, written by Drs. Jeffrey Stern and Sally Temple of the Neural Stem Cell Institute (NSCI) and colleagues, reviews major milestones in ophthalmic regenerative medicine to transform the treatment of diverse eye diseases including corneal disease, glaucoma, cataract, and age-related macular degeneration. “The eye has become a focus for Stem Cell therapy,” said Dr. Sally Temple, the Scientific Director of NSCI in Rensselaer, NY. This review highlights emerging therapies such as transplantation of stem cells for eye repair, the use of synthetic biocompatible materials and natural scaffolds with cells delivered to the eye, and activation of endogenous eye stem cells. While stem-cell based regenerative therapies for eye diseases range from transplantation to coaxing in situ stem cells to regenerate defective tissue, the novel regenerative therapies raise new challenges about how to make therapies available to patients and how the patients’ immune system will respond. Future strategies to overcome these challenges include matching stem cell transplants to patients to mitigate rejection; optimizing cell product manufacturing for safe and adequate supply, and establishing sound regulation to curb the spread of unapproved “therapies” that have caused tragic outcomes. Cell Stem Cell also featured the cover art by co-author Tian Isabel Yangzi submitted with the review.
Click here to read the original article: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2018.05.013
About NSCI: The Neural Stem Cell Institute (NSCI) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and the first independent, neural stem cell research institute in the United States. Headquartered at the East Campus of the University at Albany in Rensselaer, NY, NSCI is a unique organization that produces leading stem cell research to develop new therapies for diseases of the central nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Age-related Macular Degeneration. NSCI aims to harness the power of stem cells to ease the suffering caused by injury and disease of the brain, spinal cord, and retina. NSCI has over 30 individuals focused on finding new ways to promote nervous system repair and has published numerous articles on groundbreaking stem cell discoveries and their implications for neural disease cures. For additional information, visit http://neuralsci.org/.
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In recent years hundreds of unregulated stem cell treatment centers have cropped up across the U.S. These clinics claim to offer treatments for a wide variety of diseases and ailments by using patients’ own stem cells. These centers often use high-pressure sales tactics to prey on individuals and families who are desperate for cures. All the while, the ongoing use of these questionable and unproven practices risk poisoning the public’s good will and could jeopardize legitimate research programs whose results may still be years away.
In a recent article the Washington Post details the experiences of one individual who lost her vision after one such treatment. This is a highly recommended read that also highlights the work of attorney Andrew Yaffa in pursuing these dubious centers as well as comments from our founder Sally Temple.
Dr. Temple contributed to a recent article on a stem cell clinical trial that has recently received the Food and Drug Administration’s new Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designation.
Read more about how this new designation will help to promote the advancement of legitimate stem cell therapies: https://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/51539/title/Trends-in-Synthetic-Biology–Antibody-Engineering/