Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the world**. These deaths are mainly caused by the hardening and subsequent blockage of blood vessels due to the accumulation of fatty materials, a condition called atherosclerosis. As not all patients are suitable for conventional stenting or bypass treatment, an option in the future may be to grow new blood vessels to bypass their own blocked vessels.
The team from Cambridge worked with embryonic stem cells and reprogrammed skin cells, collectively known as human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), which have the potential to form any cell type in the body. They discovered a method of creating all the major vascular smooth muscle cells in high purity using hPSCs which can also be easily scaled up for production of clinical-grade SMCs. This is the first time that such a system has been developed and will open the door for comparative studies on different subtypes of SMCs to be carried out, which are otherwise extremely difficult to obtain from patients.
The scientists created three subtypes of SMCs from different embryonic tissues which they reproduced in the culture dish and showed that the various SMC subtypes responded differently when exposed to substances that cause vascular diseases. They concluded that differences in the embryonic origin play a role in their susceptibility to diseases and may play a part in determining where and when common vascular diseases such as aortic aneurysms or atherosclerosis develop.
Dr Alan Colman, Principle Investigator of the Institute of Medical Biology under A*STAR and Executive Director of the Singapore Stem Cell Consortium, said, "This is a major advance in vascular disease modelling using patient-derived stem cells. The development of robust methods to make multiple, distinct smooth muscle subtypes provides tools for scientists to model and understand a greater range of vascular diseases in a culture dish than was previously available. It is a significant stride forward in being able to construct new blood vessels which will benefit a whole range of patients including those with cardiovascular diseases, renal failure and genetic disorders such as Marfans Syndrome that affect the normal function of their blood vessels."
Dr Lim Khiang Wee, Executive Director of the A*STAR Graduate Academy (A*GA), said, "Christine's work reflects the calibre of our scholars - they do excellent research and grow into scientists who will contribute to Singapore when they return."
Ms Christine Cheung is a National Science Scholarship (NSS) scholar and is doing her final year PhD studies at Cambridge University (UK). The NSS scholarship is one of the programmes offered by A*GA, to attract and develop outstanding young talent passionate about research who will spearhead Singapore's drive to becoming Asian's Innovation Capital.
* The paper "Generation of human vascular smooth muscle subtypes provides insight into embryological origin-dependent disease susceptibility" was published on Nature Biotechnology's website on 15 January. Ms Christine Cheung is funded by a National Science Scholarship from the A*STAR (Agency for Science, Technology and Research, Singapore). The other authors are Dr Andreia S Bernardo, Dr Matthew W B Trotter, Prof Roger A Pedersen & Dr Sanjay Sinha (Christine's PhD supervisor). Additional funding was provided by the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council. http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nbt.2107.html
A*STAR, the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, is Singapore's lead agency for fostering world-class scientific research and talent for a vibrant knowledge-based Singapore. A*STAR actively nurtures public sector research and development in Biomedical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Engineering, with a particular focus on fields essential to Singapore's manufacturing industry and new growth industries. It oversees 19 research institutes and consortia and supports extramural research with the universities, hospital research centres and other local and international partners. At the heart of this knowledge intensive work is human capital. Top local and international scientific talent drive knowledge creation at A*STAR research institutes. The Agency also sends scholars for undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral training in the best universities, a reflection of the high priority A*STAR places on nurturing the next generation of scientific talent. For more information, please visit www.a-star.edu.sg.Contact:
Ong Siok Ming | Japan Corporate News Network
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences