by Charlie Patton
At the the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine in Jacksonville, there is a belief that using stem cells to help people’s bodies repair themselves will be the future of medicine. Which is why a recent decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is “a huge deal,” said Guojun Bu, a neurologist, who is associate director of the Jacksonville Center for Regenerative Medicine. The FDA has agreed to allow Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville to use an automated bioreactor-based stem cell production platform. That will allow physicians to reproduce stem cells harvested from the bone marrow of young, healthy donors more quickly and in larger quantities than they have been able to reproduce them in the past.
Context: The research of Guojun Bu, Ph.D., is centered on understanding why a specific allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (e4) represents a strong risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Bu's Neurobiology of Alzheimer's Disease Laboratory focuses on dissecting the biological and pathological functions of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) and APOE receptors with particular emphasis on their roles in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Dr. Bu collaborates with Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine to collect skin biopsies from patients with various neurological disorders, some with rare gene mutations or risk gene alleles. The resulting fibroblasts are banked and used for reprogramming into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that can be further differentiated into a myriad of central nervous system cell types. These human cells are an important and unique way in which the Dr. Bu's lab is studying the cellular mechanisms of brain disorders, addressing human relevance and developing future replacement therapy.
Contact: Kevin Punsky