Just as blood banks are essential to medicine, the Thomson Lab hopes to see the advent of artery banks that give surgeons a better, readily available material to replace diseased arteries. The lab is using pluripotent stem cells to grow the cellular building blocks of the artery — endothelial and smooth muscle cells — and coax them into assembling into arteries that can grow and thrive in a majority of patients.
James Thomson, the UW-Madison biologist whose stem cell discovery 20 years ago opened fascinating and promising new avenues in science, took time to discuss his thoughts on the breakthrough and what the future holds for the field of regenerative medicine.
The parasitic disease schistosomiasis is one of the developing world’s worst public health scourges, affecting hundreds of millions of people, yet only a single, limited treatment exists to combat the disease. Researchers are searching for potential new targets by probing the cellular and developmental biology of the parasitic flatworm Schistosoma.