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C6: Stem Cell Biology – 28854

(2 hrs/week; 2 CP; Spring 2024)

F. Doetsch, A. Wodnar-Filipowicz, I. Martin, A. Peters

Stem cell research continues to grow at an extraordinary pace and raises hope for reconstructive therapies. Embryonic stem (ES) cells can divide without limits, while maintaining the potential to make all cell types of the body. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are derived from somatic cell by "forced" expression of transcription factors, and bear similarities with pluripotent ES cells. As they can be generated from the individuals that may potentially need them for tissue and organ repair, they have the potential to avoid rejection, a problem often seen with heterologous tissue transplantation. This course will also cover so-called adult or tissue stem cells, which are the body's ultimate repair system in places where it is normally at work, such as the hematopoietic system. These immature cells normally maintain a low profile within tissues and selected organs until activated by disease or injury. At the same time, they have some characteristics that are alarmingly close to cancer cells. It is conceivable that cancer stem cells may explain the resistance of some tumors to treatment that typically target rapidly dividing cells, an important aspect of stem cell pathology that will also be covered by this new series.