Navigation Links
New use for stem cells found in war on terrorism

For more than a decade, Steve Stice has dedicated his research using embryonic stem cells to improving the lives of people with degenerative diseases and debilitating injuries. His most recent discovery, which produces billions of neural cells from a few stem cells, could now aid in national security.

It's like a canary-in-a-coal-mine scenario, said Stice, a University of Georgia animal science professor and Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholar in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

In collaboration with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Stice hopes to use his recently developed neural cell kits to detect chemical threats.

They have a device that looks like a small tool box that contains neural cells and can detect changes in their electrical activity, Stice said. When these cells activity is altered, you know there's something present that shouldn't be and they don't like it.

The system now being used in the monitoring device uses mouse neural cells. The problem is, Stice said, mouse neural cells die out pretty fast on their own. So if you tried sending this device out with the troops, somebody has to change out the cells every couple of weeks. Plus, mice aren't humans. They react very differently to chemicals than we do.

Stice's neural cell kits created from human embryonic stem cell lines last up to six months. We've never tested to see how far beyond that they're viable, he said. It could be much longer.

Stice believes the project has huge implications for Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. He came on the idea when he was searching for immediate uses for his neural cell kits.

I contacted researchers at NRL who had published a paper on the detection system. We met in Washington to see what we could do together, he said. They've developed the recording device, and we have the cells they need. So working together, we can vastly improve that project.

Stice explained the device. The monitoring system records electrical activity in the neural cells, which are usually in a set, rhythmic pattern, he said, drawing a chart that looks like a pattern on a heart monitor.

When faced with a chemical agent, he said, the electrical activity is reduced quite a bit, and the signals are erratic. He shows the effect by shortening the length and frequency of the upward lines in the pattern.

The computer interprets the neural cell signals and indicates a problem, he said.

The researchers got support for the project from several congressmen, including Sen. Johnny Isakson and Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston.

Stice has already begun to think of implications beyond the obvious.

We think that working with these human neural cells can lead to other collaborative projects in treating posttraumatic stress syndrome and head injuries from war, he said. Those are just two of the many possible spinoffs I foresee.

The current system can detect an agent but it can't identify it. We may be able to further develop the system so that for some chemicals there are signatures that will lead to a future way to rapidly identify exactly what the chemical is, Stice said.

Noncell systems available now can detect specified chemicals, he said. But this is a broader detection system that will be more valuable because we don't know what terrorists will hit us with.

The idea is planted and the materials assembled. Now the waiting for funding begins.

We can start as soon as the money comes, Stice said. We've already done the preliminary work. We know our cells will work with their system. How well they'll work is the question we'll have to answer.

Stice feels this detection system is important to troops and civilians. There's always a concern for nerve agents and unintentional effects of warfare where troops are in the way of chemical agents, he said.

The beauty of this system is that it will detect a wide range of chemical agents, he said. And the speed that they're detected is the beauty of these cells.

To simplify the system and make it more mobile, Stice's team can preset each kit.

We'll be able to preload the cells in the detection devices, and they're good to go for at least six months, he said. These systems will be useful in national defense, whether it's in a subway, an airport or on the front line of the war in Iraq.


Contact: Kim Osborne
University of Georgia

Related biology technology :

1. Novocell Announces Discovery Linking Key Cancer Cell Signaling Pathways With Proliferation and Self-Renewal of Human Embryonic Stem Cells
2. Reovirus Infection of Melanoma Cells Generates Anti-Tumour Immunity
3. Scientists synthesize memory in yeast cells
4. BioLife Solutions CryoStor(TM) Adopted by Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics for Preservation Protocol for New, Non-Embryonic Source of Stem Cells
5. Patent Office Rules in Neuralstems Favor in Dispute with StemCells, Inc.
6. NIH Announces Advanced Cell Technologys Single Cell Embryo Biopsy Technique as a Means to Derive Embryonic Stem Cells to be Considered for Federal Funding
7. Scientists synthesize memory in yeast cells
8. Breakthrough research identifies how cells from pigs may cure diabetes
9. Patent on Technology for the Delivery of Stem Cells to the Human Heart Issued to CellCyte Genetics Corp. of Washington
10. STEM CELLS Journal Names Co-Editors
11. Discovery Institute Bioethicist Lauds Breakthrough in Stem Cells Research that Eliminates Need for Human Cloning
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... -- Research and Markets( ) has announced the ... Bone Morphogenetic Protein Growth Factor Therapy - 16 Countries ... --> --> Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) ... after a fracture. In nature, these proteins have a ... the skeleton. There are twenty different BMPs that have ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... 2015 " Microbiology Culture Market - ... 2023 " , the global microbiology culture market ... reach US$7.59 bn by 2023, expanding at a CAGR of 5.9% ... " Microbiology Culture Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, ... the global microbiology culture market was valued at US$4.51 bn ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... AxioMx ... that it has received a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant ... of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), will fund the development of a technique to ...
(Date:10/13/2015)...      Q BioMed Inc (OTC: ... into a strategic relationship with Wombat Capital, Ltd., a ... Paris, France based strategic and scientific advisory ... This collaborative arrangement gives Q BioMed and its stakeholders ... well as long established pharmaceutical industry relationships. The advisors ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:10/13/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has announced the ... Market - Estimation & Forecast (2015-2020)" report to ... --> The biometric market value is anticipated to ... in 2020 at an estimated CAGR of 16.47% from ... . Growing digitization in the government sector is expected ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... DUBLIN , Oct. 9, 2015 Research ... of Wintergreen Research, Inc,s new report "Biometrics: Market ... offering. --> --> ... overview of the Biometrics market segment. Research represents a ... most relevant and cogent market materials, with selections made ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... 12, 2015 Research and Markets ( ... "Iris Recognition Market by Component (Hardware & ... & Others), Industry (Travel & Immigration, Military & ... to 2020" report to their offering. ... Iris Recognition Market worth 3627.90 Million USD by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):