The current breakthrough represents the culmination of many years of work by Dr. Rafii and his lab, including their research in converting adult mouse spermatogonial stem cells to endothelial cells (Nature, September 2007) and in deriving stable, copious endothelial cells from human embryonic stem cells (Nature Biotechnology, Jan. 17, 2010).
The ability to generate many stable endothelial cells from human embryonic stem cells leads to new research opportunities, according to Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, who is a co-author in this study and director and physician-in-chief of the Ronald O. Perelman and Claudia Cohen Center for Reproductive Medicine, as well as the director of the Tri-Institutional Stem Cell Initiative Derivation Unit at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Dr. Rosenwaks says, "Generation of endothelial cells derived from diseased embryonic stem cells that are being propagated in our Derivation Unit will open up new avenues of research to molecularly eavesdrop on the communication between vascular cells and stem cells. This innovative line of investigation -- to determine how normal and abnormal human vascular cells induce the formation of organs during development of embryos and how dysfunction of endothelial cells results in developmental defects -- will lay the foundation for novel platforms for therapeutic organ regeneration."
Dr. Rafii sees even more opportunities. "Identification of as yet unrecognized growth factors produced by human embryonic cell-derived endothelium and adult endothelial cells that support stem cell expansion and differentiation will establish a new arena in stem cell biology. We will be able to selectively activate endothelial cells not only to induce organ regeneration, but also to inhibit specifically the production of endothelial cell-derived factors in order to block the growth of tumors. Our findings are the first steps toward such goals and t
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New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College