Open genetic data combined with medical and phisiological information will change the way medicine works – treatments will be personalized and more effective, plus there will be new therapies created specifically for particular patiens. This will significantly improve and prolong our lives. George Church started the Personal Genome Project wich has this exact goal.
I enjoyed the Technology Review interview with Dr. Church about the future of induced pluripotent stem cells. Loved the quote:
“I’m thinking a lot about using regeneration as the key to treatments and keeping people healthy.”
One of the basic processes happening during tissue regeneration is transformation of epithelial cells into mesenchymal and the other way around, mesenchymal cells into epithelial. The term is epithelial-mesenchymal transition. The picture above shows the difference between these two basic cell phenotypes. Note, that there are no other ones in multicellular tissues. Epithelial cells are bound tightly to each other and to extracellular matrix. The extracellular matrix is the basal lamina, which serves as a sort of bed for epithelial cells, which form a “topping”. Mesenchymal cells are located within a 3D extracelllular matrix. They are bipolar, which means they have different cytoskeleton arrangement and distinct organelle distribution inside them. For example, mesenchymal cells have lamellipodia at their leading edge. These structures help them migrate inside the tissue.