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Published on Dec 9, 2013
Stem cells continue to gain momentum to treat and in some cases cure devastating human diseases. In contrast, there is the mounting evidence that stem cells are in fact at the literal "root" of some diseases. This duality of hero versus villain is no more evident when comparing the two most devastating human diseases, heart disease and cancer. With heart disease, stem cells offer the promise of regenerating damage heart muscle after heart attack through repair mechanisms to either reduce or reverse heart failure. Conversely, there is mounting evidence of the existence of cancer stem cells that may not only be responsible for tumor growth but may also persist long after treatment to cause relapse and metastasis. Unfortunately, a lack of understanding of chemistry and biology of stem cells has hampered efforts to develop therapies that tap into their regenerative capacity (as in heart disease) or control their proliferation (as in cancer). However, the tide is starting to change. Researchers across the globe are using chemical compounds as probes to unravel the secrets of stem cells. This talk will highlight the potential for new drugs to control our stem cells as a new paradigm in regenerative medicine and cancer chemotherapy.
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