Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Cambridge, MA, United States

Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Cambridge, MA, United States
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Yi P.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute | Park J.-S.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute | Melton D.A.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Cell | Year: 2013

Replenishing insulin-producing pancreatic β cell mass will benefit both type I and type II diabetics. In adults, pancreatic β cells are generated primarily by self-duplication. We report on a mouse model of insulin resistance that induces dramatic pancreatic β cell proliferation and β cell mass expansion. Using this model, we identify a hormone, betatrophin, that is primarily expressed in liver and fat. Expression of betatrophin correlates with β cell proliferation in other mouse models of insulin resistance and during gestation. Transient expression of betatrophin in mouse liver significantly and specifically promotes pancreatic β cell proliferation, expands β cell mass, and improves glucose tolerance. Thus, betatrophin treatment could augment or replace insulin injections by increasing the number of endogenous insulin-producing cells in diabetics. PaperClip © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Kiskinis E.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute | Eggan K.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Journal of Clinical Investigation | Year: 2010

Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are generated by epigenetic reprogramming of somatic cells through the exogenous expression of transcription factors. These cells, just like embryonic stem cells, are likely to have a major impact on regenerative medicine, because they self-renew and retain the potential to be differentiated into all cell types of the human body. In this Review, we describe the current state of iPS cell technology, including approaches by which they are generated and what is known about their biology, and discuss the potential applications of these cells for disease modeling, drug discovery, and, eventually, cell replacement therapy.


Cahan P.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute | Daley G.Q.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology | Year: 2013

Pluripotent stem cells constitute a platform to model disease and developmental processes and can potentially be used in regenerative medicine. However, not all pluripotent cell lines are equal in their capacity to differentiate into desired cell types in vitro. Genetic and epigenetic variations contribute to functional variability between cell lines and heterogeneity within clones. These genetic and epigenetic variations could 'lock' the pluripotency network resulting in residual pluripotent cells or alter the signalling response of developmental pathways leading to lineage bias. The molecular contributors to functional variability and heterogeneity in both embryonic stem (ES) cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are only beginning to emerge, yet they are crucial to the future of the stem cell field. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Green E.M.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute | Lee R.T.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Physiological Reviews | Year: 2013

Regenerative medicine seeks to understand tissue development and homeostasis and build on that knowledge to enhance regeneration of injured tissues. By replenishing lost functional tissues and cells, regenerative medicine could change the treatment paradigm for a broad range of degenerative and ischemic diseases. Multipotent cells hold promise as potential building blocks for regenerating lost tissues, but successful tissue regeneration will depend on comprehensive control of multipotent cells-differentiation into a target cell type, delivery to a desired tissue, and integration into a durable functional structure. At each step of this process, proteins and small molecules provide essential signals and, in some cases, may themselves act as effective therapies. Identifying these signals is thus a fundamental goal of regenerative medicine. In this review we discuss current progress using proteins and small molecules to regulate tissue regeneration, both in combination with cellular therapies and as monotherapy. © 2013 the American Physiological Society.


De Jager P.L.,Brigham and Women's Hospital | De Jager P.L.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Nature neuroscience | Year: 2014

We used a collection of 708 prospectively collected autopsied brains to assess the methylation state of the brain's DNA in relation to Alzheimer's disease (AD). We found that the level of methylation at 71 of the 415,848 interrogated CpGs was significantly associated with the burden of AD pathology, including CpGs in the ABCA7 and BIN1 regions, which harbor known AD susceptibility variants. We validated 11 of the differentially methylated regions in an independent set of 117 subjects. Furthermore, we functionally validated these CpG associations and identified the nearby genes whose RNA expression was altered in AD: ANK1, CDH23, DIP2A, RHBDF2, RPL13, SERPINF1 and SERPINF2. Our analyses suggest that these DNA methylation changes may have a role in the onset of AD given that we observed them in presymptomatic subjects and that six of the validated genes connect to a known AD susceptibility gene network.


The transplantation of glucose-responsive, insulin-producing cells offers the potential for restoring glycemic control in individuals with diabetes. Pancreas transplantation and the infusion of cadaveric islets are currently implemented clinically, but these approaches are limited by the adverse effects of immunosuppressive therapy over the lifetime of the recipient and the limited supply of donor tissue. The latter concern may be addressed by recently described glucose-responsive mature beta cells that are derived from human embryonic stem cells (referred to as SC-β cells), which may represent an unlimited source of human cells for pancreas replacement therapy. Strategies to address the immunosuppression concerns include immunoisolation of insulin-producing cells with porous biomaterials that function as an immune barrier. However, clinical implementation has been challenging because of host immune responses to the implant materials. Here we report the first long-term glycemic correction of a diabetic, immunocompetent animal model using human SC-β cells. SC-β cells were encapsulated with alginate derivatives capable of mitigating foreign-body responses in vivo and implanted into the intraperitoneal space of C57BL/6J mice treated with streptozotocin, which is an animal model for chemically induced type 1 diabetes. These implants induced glycemic correction without any immunosuppression until their removal at 174 d after implantation. Human C-peptide concentrations and in vivo glucose responsiveness demonstrated therapeutically relevant glycemic control. Implants retrieved after 174 d contained viable insulin-producing cells. © 2016 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.


Notarangelo L.D.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Advances in Immunology | Year: 2014

Immunodeficiencies with nonfunctional T cells comprise a heterogeneous group of conditions characterized by altered function of T lymphocytes in spite of largely preserved T cell development. Some of these forms are due to hypomorphic mutations in genes causing severe combined immunodeficiency. More recently, advances in human genome sequencing have facilitated the identification of novel genetic defects that do not affect T cell development, but alter T cell function and homeostasis. Along with increased susceptibility to infections, these conditions are characterized by autoimmunity and higher risk of malignancies. The study of these diseases, and of corresponding animal models, has provided fundamental insights on the mechanisms that govern immune homeostasis. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Cohen D.E.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute | Melton D.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Nature Reviews Genetics | Year: 2011

Regenerative medicine offers the hope that cells for disease research and therapy might be created from readily available sources. To fulfil this promise, the cells available need to be converted into the desired cell types. We review two main approaches to accomplishing this goal: in vitro directed differentiation, which is used to push pluripotent stem cells, including embryonic stem cells or induced pluripotent stem cells, through steps similar to those that occur during embryonic development; and reprogramming (also known as transdifferentiation), in which a differentiated cell is converted directly into the cell of interest without proceeding through a pluripotent intermediate. We analyse the status of progress made using these strategies and highlight challenges that must be overcome to achieve the goal of cell-replacement therapy. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Melton D.A.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2011

Stem cells with the potential to form many different cell types are actively studied for their possible use in cell replacement therapies for several diseases. In addition, the differentiated derivatives of stem cells are being used as reagents to test for drugs that slow or correct disease phenotypes found in several degenerative diseases. This paper explores these approaches in the context of type 1 or juvenile diabetes, pointing to recent successes as well as the technical and theoretical challenges that lie ahead in the path to new treatments and cures. © 2011 The Royal Society.


Scadden D.T.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Scadden D.T.,Harvard Stem Cell Institute
Cell | Year: 2014

No metazoan cell survives on its own, absent the signals and support of its milieu. For multicellular life with specialized tissues to persist, organization is everything and so defining the association of position with cell state is critical to understanding how tissues function, maintain, and repair. This review focuses specifically on place for progenitor and stem cells. Especially emphasized are hematopoietic cells that balance free movement and stable position and where concepts of regulatory interrelationships have been shown with some precision. It reviews classical and emerging concepts of the niche, particularly considering how niche functions may participate in neoplastic disease. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.

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