Ann Conkle
Mar 1, 2012

UGA study reveals basic molecular 'wiring' of stem cells

Despite the promise of the therapeutic use of human stem cells, a complete understanding of the mechanisms that control whether a stem cell becomes a specific cell type within the body or remains a stem cell has -- until now -- eluded scientists. A University of Georgia study, however, creates the first ever blueprint of how stem cells respond to external signaling molecules. The finding, which reconciles years of conflicting results from labs across the world, gives scientists the ability to precisely control the development of stem cells into specific cell types. "We can use the information from this study as an instruction book to control the behavior of stem cells," said lead author Stephen Dalton, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar of Molecular Biology and professor of cellular biology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. "We'll be able to allow them to differentiate into therapeutic cell types much more efficiently and in a far more controlled manner."