The future of medicine lies in understanding how the body creates itself out of a single cell and the mechanisms by which it renews itself throughout life.
When we achieve this goal, we will be able to replace damaged tissues and help the body regenerate itself, potentially curing or easing the suffering of those afflicted by disorders like heart disease, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, diabetes, spinal cord injury and cancer.
Research at the institute leverages Stanford’s many strengths in a way that promotes that goal. The institute brings together experts from a wide range of scientific and medical fields to create a fertile, multidisciplinary research environment.
There are four major research areas of emphasis at the institute:
- Mature tissue or organ stem cells: Researchers are expanding their understanding of known stem cells that continue to function through life, the so called “adult” stem cells, the mature tissue or organ cells that include blood-forming, neural, skin and skeletal muscle stem cells. Research in this area is also aimed at understanding the clinical applications of these stem cells, such as regenerating sick or injured organs and tissues. More »
- Human embryonic and induced-pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Researchers are studying how embryonic cells are created and how they specialize to become various tissues in the body. Understanding the mechanics of embryonic stem cells may well be the key to the most dramatic breakthroughs in regeneration medicine. We also now have the capability to produce embryonic-like cells (iPS cells) from mature cells, and even to create stem cells directly from mature cells without going through the iPS stage. More »
- New Stem Cell Lines: The institute is exploring how stem cells can be created out of specialized cells that have grown out of the stem cell stage. This research includes the use of NT (nuclear transfer) technology and iPS (induced pluripotent stem cell) technology to create new stem cell lines, which serve as models for studying and treating disorders such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Lou Gehrig's diseases. More »
- Cancer Stem Cells: Scientist at the institute have played a key role in discovering and studying cancer stem cells, which are believed to lie at the core of cancer’s destructive potential. The institute continues to be the global epicenter of the hunt for cancer stem cells. Researchers aim to conduct preclinical research to develop new therapeutic approaches to killing cancer stem cells, with the goal of moving these findings into clinical trials. More »