University of Michigan creates nation’s first embryonic stem cell lines to study blood clotting, neurological disorders

University of Michigan creates nation’s first embryonic stem cell lines to study blood clotting, neurological disorders

The Detroit Free Press | April 4, 2011 | By Patricia Anstett

In a development that aims to provide better answers for the treatment of disabling, inherited conditions, the University of Michigan announced today it has created some of the nation’s first embryonic stem cell lines that carry genes responsible for specific diseases.The discovery leapfrogs U-M to a top tier of research institutions. Of nearly 100 embryonic stem cell lines in a national registry, only Harvard and Stanford universities have developed reproducible lines to study specific diseases.

U-M’s research involved the creation of two cell lines for hemophilia B, a clotting disorder, and Charcot-Marie Tooth disease, a neurological disorder that causes weakness in the legs, hands and feet.

“This will fuel the fire of discovery” in how the earliest embryonic cells develop markers of a specific disease, said Gary Smith, Ph.D., co-director of U-M’s Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies and leader of the cell-derivation project there.

U-M expects to develop other cell lines to study other disorders, including Huntington’s disease, myotonic dystrophy, Rett syndrome, spinal muscular atrophy and Tay-Sachs disease.

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