Matching Items (68)

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Engineering a Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (hiPSC)-Based Model of Alzheimer's Disease

Description

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) affects over 5 million individuals in the U.S. and has a direct cost estimated in excess of $200 billion per year. Broadly speaking, there are two forms of AD—early-onset, familial AD (FAD) and late-onset-sporadic AD (SAD). Animal

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) affects over 5 million individuals in the U.S. and has a direct cost estimated in excess of $200 billion per year. Broadly speaking, there are two forms of AD—early-onset, familial AD (FAD) and late-onset-sporadic AD (SAD). Animal models of AD, which rely on the overexpression of FAD-related mutations, have provided important insights into the disease. However, these models do not display important disease-related pathologies and have been limited in their ability to model the complex genetics associated with SAD.

Advances in cellular reprogramming, have enabled the generation of in vitro disease models that can be used to dissect disease mechanisms and evaluate potential therapeutics. To that end, efforts by many groups, including the Brafman laboratory, to generated patient-specific hiPSCs have demonstrated the promise of studying AD in a simplified and accessible system. However, neurons generated from these hiPSCs have shown some, but not all, of the early molecular and cellular hallmarks associated with the disease. Additionally, phenotypes and pathological hallmarks associated with later stages of the human disease have not been observed with current hiPSC-based systems. Further, disease relevant phenotypes in neurons generated from SAD hiPSCs have been highly variable or largely absent. Finally, the reprogramming process erases phenotypes associated with cellular aging and, as a result, iPSC-derived neurons more closely resemble fetal brain rather than adult brain.

It is well-established that in vivo cells reside within a complex 3-D microenvironment that plays a significant role in regulating cell behavior. Signaling and other cellular functions, such as gene expression and differentiation potential, differ in 3-D cultures compared with 2-D substrates. Nonetheless, previous studies using AD hiPSCs have relied on 2-D neuronal culture models that do not reflect the 3-D complexity of native brain tissue, and therefore, are unable to replicate all aspects of AD pathogenesis. Further, the reprogramming process erases cellular aging phenotypes. To address these limitations, this project aimed to develop bioengineering methods for the generation of 3-D organoid-based cultures that mimic in vivo cortical tissue, and to generate an inducible gene repression system to recapitulate cellular aging hallmarks.

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2018-05

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Pathways for Regulating the Direct-to-Consumer Stem Cell Industry in the United States

Description

The direct-to-consumer (DTC) stem cell industry is a novel industry in the United States offering experimental stem cell treatments to patients with little regulatory oversight. The rapid expansion of this industry over the last decade has drawn attention from a

The direct-to-consumer (DTC) stem cell industry is a novel industry in the United States offering experimental stem cell treatments to patients with little regulatory oversight. The rapid expansion of this industry over the last decade has drawn attention from a number of stakeholders, and there is heated debate about how the industry should be regulated in order to maintain patient safety and treatment efficacy while also promoting innovation. Since 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been the main regulatory agency within the DTC stem cell industry, but it has been criticized for not taking stricter action. To develop a better understanding of the regulatory landscape in the DTC stem cell industry, this study provides a thorough analysis of five effective regulatory pathways: Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), litigation, state legislation, and state medical boards. The operation of these pathways as regulatory agencies separately and together provide a clearer picture of future regulation in the DTC stem cell industry.

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2019-05

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Lipopolymer-Mediated Transgene Delivery to Human Stem Cells

Description

Genetic manipulation of human cell lines has widespread applications in biomedical research ranging from disease modeling to therapeutic development. Human cells are generally difficult to genetically engineer, but exogenous nucleic acids can be expressed by viral, chemical, or nonchemical means.

Genetic manipulation of human cell lines has widespread applications in biomedical research ranging from disease modeling to therapeutic development. Human cells are generally difficult to genetically engineer, but exogenous nucleic acids can be expressed by viral, chemical, or nonchemical means. Chemical transfections are simpler in practice than both viral and nonchemical delivery of genetic material, but often suffer from cytotoxicity and low efficiency. Novel aminoglycoside antibiotic-derived lipopolymers have been synthesized to mediate transgene delivery to human cells. These polymers are comprised of either paromomycin or apramycin crosslinked with glycerol diglycidylether and derivatized with stearoyl chloride in varying molar ratios. In this work, three previously identified target lipopolymers were screened against a library of human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cell lines. Cells were transfected with a plasmid encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) and expression was quantified with flow cytometry 48 hours after transfection. Transfection efficiency was evaluated between three distinct lipopolymers and four lipopolymer:DNA mass ratios. GFP expression was compared to that of cells transfected with commercially available chemical gene delivery reagent controls\u2014JetPEI, Lipofectamine, and Fugene\u2014at their recommended reagent:DNA ratios. Improved transgene expression in stem cell lines allows for improved research methods. Human stem cell-derived neurons that have been genetically manipulated to express phenotypic characteristics of aging can be utilized to model neurodegenerative diseases, elucidating information about these diseases that would be inaccessible in unmanipulated tissue.

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2017-05

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Engineering Self-Organizing Biliary Organoids from Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Description

Cholangiocytes, the epithelial cells of the bile duct, are the origin of cholangiopathies which often necessitate liver transplants. Current progress in generating functional biliary organoids show potential for modelling cholangiopathies and validating therapeutic drugs. Organoids by groups Ogawa et al.

Cholangiocytes, the epithelial cells of the bile duct, are the origin of cholangiopathies which often necessitate liver transplants. Current progress in generating functional biliary organoids show potential for modelling cholangiopathies and validating therapeutic drugs. Organoids by groups Ogawa et al. and Sampaziotis et al. utilize soluble molecule induction, OP9 co-culture, and three-dimensional culture to achieve self-organizing tissues which express mature cholangiocyte markers and show cholangiocyte functionality. This thesis describes our efforts to establish a standard for functional PSC-derived bile duct tissues. By directing cell fate and patterning through external cues alone, we were able to produce CK19+ALB+ hepatoblast-like cells. These soluble molecule-induced cells also expressed EpCAM and CEBPA, suggesting the presence of early liver epithelial cells. However, inconsistent results and high levels of cell death with soluble molecule induction in early stages of differentiation prompted the development of a combinatory differentiation method which utilized multiple differentiation tools. We opted to combine transcription-factor triggered differentiation with soluble molecule-mediated differentiation to produce early biliary cells with the potential to develop into mature cholangiocytes. By combining genetic engineering through the activation of doxycycline-inducible GATA6 switch and microbead-mediated CXCR4 separation, we generated patterned tissues which expressed early biliary markers, CD146, CK19, and SOX9. In the future, three-dimensional cell culture and OP9 co-culture could improve our current results by facilitating 3D cellular self-organization and promoting NOTCH signaling for cholangiocyte maturation. Next steps for this research include optimizing media formulations, tracking gene expression over time, and testing the functionality of generated tissues.

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2017-05

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Stem Cell Growth Factor Supplementation: Efficacy of PRP and Prolotherapy Treatment Evidence

Description

the project led by Professor Emma Frow, researching of stem cell clinics focused on stem cell applications, adherence to FDA guidelines, and characterization of information available and physician credentials. Regenerative medicine clinics commonly offered stem cell therapy, but introduced platelet

the project led by Professor Emma Frow, researching of stem cell clinics focused on stem cell applications, adherence to FDA guidelines, and characterization of information available and physician credentials. Regenerative medicine clinics commonly offered stem cell therapy, but introduced platelet rich plasma (PRP) and prolotherapy as regenerative therapies.
PRP and Prolotherapy are individual treatments that were even suggested and used in combination with stem cell therapies. Prolotherapy predates PRP as a chemical irritant therapy originally used to sclerose tissues. Prolotherapy is meant to stimulate platelet derived growth factors release to improve tissue healing response. Prolotherapy shows negligible efficacy improvements over corticosteroids, but may have underlying side effects from being an irritant. PRP is a more modern therapy for improved healing. Speculations state initial use was in an open heart surgery to improve healing post-surgery. PRP is created via centrifugation of patient blood to isolate growth factors by removing serum and other biological components to increase platelet concentration. PRP is comparable to corticosteroid injections in efficacy, but as an autologous application, there are no side effects making it more advantageous. Growth factors induce healing response and reduce inflammation. Growth factors stimulate cell growth, proliferation, differentiation, and stimulate cellular response mechanism such as angiogenesis and mitogenesis. The growth factor stimulation of PRP and prolotherapy both assist stem cell proliferation. Additional research is needed to determine differential capacity to ensure multipotent stem cells regenerate the correct cell type from the increased differential capacity offered by growth factor recruitment. The application of combination therapy for stem cells is unsubstantiated and applications violate FDA ‘minimal manipulation’ guidelines.

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2017-05

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Computational Analysis of Research in Mammalian Neocortical Neurogenesis

Description

Studies in neocortical neurogenesis have experienced an explosive growth since the early 2000s, measured by the increasing number of publications each year. I examine here the influence of Arnold Kriegstein in the field using Topic Modeling, a set of algorithms

Studies in neocortical neurogenesis have experienced an explosive growth since the early 2000s, measured by the increasing number of publications each year. I examine here the influence of Arnold Kriegstein in the field using Topic Modeling, a set of algorithms that can be applied to a collection of texts to elucidate the central themes of said collection. Using a Java-based software called MALLET, I obtained data for his corpus, and compared it to the texts of other researchers in the field. This latter collection, which I dub "General Corpus", was separated by year from 2000 to 2014. I found that Kriegstein's most frequently discussed topic concerned highly unique terms such as GABA, glutamate, and receptor, which did not appear in any of the primary topics of the General Corpus. This was in contrast to my initial hypothesis that Kriegstein's importance stemmed from his examination of different phenomena that constitute the broader aspect of neocortical neurogenesis. I predicted that the terms in Kriegstein's primary topic would appear many times throughout the topics of the General Corpus, but it was not so, aside from the common ones such as neurons, cortical, and development. Taken in tandem with NIH Reporter data, these results suggest that Kriegstein obtains a large amount of research funding because his studies concern unique topics when compared to others in the field. The implications of these findings are especially relevant in a world where funding is becoming increasingly difficult to come by.

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2015-05

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Identification and Analysis of For-Profit Stem Cell Clinics in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area

Description

This thesis explores and analyzes the emergence of for-profit stem cell clinics in the United States, specifically in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Stem cell therapy is an emerging field that has great potential in preventing or treating a number of

This thesis explores and analyzes the emergence of for-profit stem cell clinics in the United States, specifically in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Stem cell therapy is an emerging field that has great potential in preventing or treating a number of diseases. Certain companies are currently researching the application of stem cells as therapeutics. At present the FDA has only approved one stem cell-based product; however, there are a number of companies currently offering stem cell therapies. In the past five years, most news articles discussing these companies offering stem cell treatments talk of clinics in other countries. Recently, there seems to be a number of stem cell clinics appearing in the United States. Using a web search engine, fourteen stem cell clinics were identified and analyzed in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Each clinic was analyzed by their four key characteristics: business operations, stem cell types, stem cell isolation methods, and their position with the FDA. Based off my analysis, most of the identified clinics are located in Scottsdale or Phoenix. Some of these clinics even share the same location as another medical practice. Each of the fourteen clinics treat more than one type of health condition. The stem clinics make use of four stem cell types and three different isolation methods to obtain the stem cells. The doctors running these clinics almost always treat health conditions outside of their expertise. Some of these clinics even claim they are not subject to FDA regulation.

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2016-05

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From autopsy donor to stem cell to neuron (and back again): cell line cohorts, IPSC proof-of-principle studies, and transcriptome comparisons of in vitro and in vivo neural cells

Description

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are an intriguing approach for neurological disease modeling, because neural lineage-specific cell types that retain the donors' complex genetics can be established in vitro. The statistical power of these iPSC-based models, however, is dependent on

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are an intriguing approach for neurological disease modeling, because neural lineage-specific cell types that retain the donors' complex genetics can be established in vitro. The statistical power of these iPSC-based models, however, is dependent on accurate diagnoses of the somatic cell donors; unfortunately, many neurodegenerative diseases are commonly misdiagnosed in live human subjects. Postmortem histopathological examination of a donor's brain, combined with premortem clinical criteria, is often the most robust approach to correctly classify an individual as a disease-specific case or unaffected control. We describe the establishment of primary dermal fibroblasts cells lines from 28 autopsy donors. These fibroblasts were used to examine the proliferative effects of establishment protocol, tissue amount, biopsy site, and donor age. As proof-of-principle, iPSCs were generated from fibroblasts from a 75-year-old male, whole body donor, defined as an unaffected neurological control by both clinical and histopathological criteria. To our knowledge, this is the first study describing autopsy donor-derived somatic cells being used for iPSC generation and subsequent neural differentiation. This unique approach also enables us to compare iPSC-derived cell cultures to endogenous tissues from the same donor. We utilized RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) to evaluate the transcriptional progression of in vitro-differentiated neural cells (over a timecourse of 0, 35, 70, 105 and 140 days), and compared this with donor-identical temporal lobe tissue. We observed in vitro progression towards the reference brain tissue, supported by (i) a significant increasing monotonic correlation between the days of our timecourse and the number of actively transcribed protein-coding genes and long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) (P < 0.05), consistent with the transcriptional complexity of the brain, (ii) an increase in CpG methylation after neural differentiation that resembled the epigenomic signature of the endogenous tissue, and (iii) a significant decreasing monotonic correlation between the days of our timecourse and the percent of in vitro to brain-tissue differences (P < 0.05) for tissue-specific protein-coding genes and all putative lincRNAs. These studies support the utility of autopsy donors' somatic cells for iPSC-based neurological disease models, and provide evidence that in vitro neural differentiation can result in physiologically progression.

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2013

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The dissection of signaling cascades in neural stem cell proliferation & GBM promotion

Description

Cells live in complex environments and must be able to adapt to environmental changes in order to survive. The ability of a cell to survive and thrive in a changing environment depends largely on its ability to receive and respond

Cells live in complex environments and must be able to adapt to environmental changes in order to survive. The ability of a cell to survive and thrive in a changing environment depends largely on its ability to receive and respond to extracellular signals. Initiating with receptors, signal transduction cascades begin translating extracellular signals into intracellular messages. Such signaling cascades are responsible for the regulation of cellular metabolism, cell growth, cell movement, transcription, translation, proliferation and differentiation. This dissertation seeks to dissect and examine critical signaling pathways involved in the regulation of proliferation in neural stem cells (Chapter 2) and the regulation of Glioblastoma Multiforme pathogenesis (GBM; Chapter 3). In Chapter 2 of this dissertation, we hypothesize that the mTOR signaling pathway plays a significant role in the determination of neural stem cell proliferation given its control of cell growth, metabolism and survival. We describe the effect of inhibition of mTOR signaling on neural stem cell proliferation using animal models of aging. Our results show that the molecular method of targeted inhibition may result in differential effects on neural stem cell proliferation as the use of rapamycin significantly reduced proliferation while the use of metformin did not. Abnormal signaling cascades resulting in unrestricted proliferation may lead to the development of brain cancer, such as GBM. In Chapter 3 of this dissertation, we hypothesize that the inhibition of the protein kinase, aPKCλ results in halted GBM progression (invasion and proliferation) due to its central location in multiple signaling cascades. Using in-vitro and in-vivo models, we show that aPKCλ functions as a critical node in GBM signaling as both cell-autonomous and non-cell-autonomous signaling converge on aPKCλ resulting in pathogenic downstream effects. This dissertation aims to uncover the molecular mechanisms involved in cell signaling pathways which are responsible for critical cellular effects such as proliferation, invasion and transcriptional regulation.

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2014

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A robust vitronectin-derived peptide substrate for the scalable long-term expansion and neuronal differentiation of human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived neural progenitor cells (hNPCs)

Description

Several debilitating neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and spinal cord injury, are characterized by the damage or loss of neuronal cell types in the central nervous system (CNS). Human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) derived from human pluripotent stem

Several debilitating neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, stroke, and spinal cord injury, are characterized by the damage or loss of neuronal cell types in the central nervous system (CNS). Human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) can proliferate extensively and differentiate into the various neuronal subtypes and supporting cells that comprise the CNS. As such, hNPCs have tremendous potential for disease modeling, drug screening, and regenerative medicine applications. However, the use hNPCs for the study and treatment of neurological diseases requires the development of defined, robust, and scalable methods for their expansion and neuronal differentiation. To that end a rational design process was used to develop a vitronectin-derived peptide (VDP)-based substrate to support the growth and neuronal differentiation of hNPCs in conventional two-dimensional (2-D) culture and large-scale microcarrier (MC)-based suspension culture. Compared to hNPCs cultured on ECMP-based substrates, hNPCs grown on VDP-coated surfaces displayed similar morphologies, growth rates, and high expression levels of hNPC multipotency markers. Furthermore, VDP surfaces supported the directed differentiation of hNPCs to neurons at similar levels to cells differentiated on ECMP substrates. Here it has been demonstrated that VDP is a robust growth and differentiation matrix, as demonstrated by its ability to support the expansions and neuronal differentiation of hNPCs derived from three hESC (H9, HUES9, and HSF4) and one hiPSC (RiPSC) cell lines. Finally, it has been shown that VDP allows for the expansion or neuronal differentiation of hNPCs to quantities (>1010) necessary for drug screening or regenerative medicine purposes. In the future, the use of VDP as a defined culture substrate will significantly advance the clinical application of hNPCs and their derivatives as it will enable the large-scale expansion and neuronal differentiation of hNPCs in quantities necessary for disease modeling, drug screening, and regenerative medicine applications.

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Date Created
2016