The Scripps Research Institute - At The Forefront

June 2013

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Transforming bone marrow stem cells into brain cells

Scientists have long believed stem cells will prove useful in treating spinal cord injuries, strokes and other neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis. However, current techniques for turning bone marrow cells into cells that can treat these conditions are relatively cumbersome and risky.

A research team led by The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) Professor Richard A. Lerner has discovered an antibody that causes bone marrow stem cells, which normally develop into white blood cells, to transform into brain cells instead. The discovery could lead to safer and more effective ways to treat nerve damage.

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Scientists at TSRI have found a simple way to turn bone marrow stem cells directly into brain precursor cells, such as those shown here.

By focusing on the biomedical research that leads to new medications, treatments and technologies, TSRI gives hope to millions of people all over the world. Your generosity can impact the future of medicine.

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Professor Thomas Kodadek

milestones in medical science:
A new technology helps diagnose puzzling autoimmune diseases

Blood is teeming with molecules called "antibodies" that the immune system releases to defend the body against disease. Many autoimmune diseases produce antibodies specific to that disease, which can be used in diagnosis. However, identifying these disease-specific antibodies among the millions of other antibodies can be like finding a needle in a haystack.

Researchers at Scripps Florida have simplified this process by using a new technology that creates biologically unnatural molecules called "peptoids" to bind with the disease-specific antibodies and pinpoint their location. This powerful diagnostic tool may hold the key to understanding autoimmune diseases.

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Author Tess Gerritsen

Other News:
Novelist Tess Gerritsen launches raffle to benefit TSRI Alzheimer's research

New York Times best-selling author and San Diego native Tess Gerritsen is raffling off the rights to name two characters in her upcoming Rizzoli & Isles thriller as part of her "War on Alzheimer's." The thriller will be the latest in the book series that is the basis for TNT's Rizzoli & Isles television series.

The raffle lasts until July 22nd and all donations will fund groundbreaking Alzheimer's research at The Scripps Research Institute. Each $5 gift offers a chance to win (a $50 donation equals 10 chances). Gerritsen has pledged to match all funds raised up to $25,000.

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Donate Your Appreciated Securities

Looking for another way to support The Scripps Research Institute? Transferring securities to TSRI not only benefits us and our research, it could also allow you to avoid capital gains. For more information about donating securities and making the most of your charitable giving to TSRI, contact Geoff Graham, Director, Planned Giving and Estates at (858) 784-9365 or visit our Planned Giving site.

facts & figures

Stem cells hold the potential to treat and cure more than 70 major diseases and conditions that affect millions of people worldwide, including diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease (ALS), spinal cord injuries and blindness.

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