Stem Cell Center of Competence ::: Uni Basel, Switzerland
 

 
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The Basel Stem Cell Network (BSCN)
     

The BSCN involves scientists working at the University of Basel, the University Hospital Basel, the Department of Biomedicine (DBM), the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE), the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI), Novartis and Roche. Its goal is to exploit the unique opportunities resulting from the close proximity of clinicians and basic researchers working on a wide range of questions related to stem cells. Its activities are coordinated by Antoine Peters (FMI, Chairman BSCN), Verdon Taylor (Dept Biomedicine), Fiona Doetsch (Biozentrum), Ivan Martin (Dept Biomedicine), Timm Schroeder (D-BSSE), Jakob Passweg (UniSpital Basel) and Raphael Guzman (UniSpital Basel

Stem cell research has a long-standing tradition in Basel and was initially focussed on cells of the haematopoietic system and their clinical use. The Department of Haematology at the University of Basel was one of the first, and continues to be one of the leading institutions in the development and use of haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. There are now over 50 groups of scientists in Basel with strong and internationally recognized expertise in fields relevant to the biology of stem cells, such as epigenetics, in vitro differentiation programs, cell signalling, cell fate determination, and a variety of clinical applications in and beyond the haematopoietic system (for further details please click groups). There is also a growing interest of basic research laboratories and of the pharmaceutical industry for the in vitro use of stem cell-based assay systems to study development and to model diseases, as well as in role of stem cells in the adult brain.

While the current excitement for stem cells is primarily generated by the potential use of such cells in regenerative medicine beyond the haematopoietic system, this field of research is also of great and general interest on its own. It allows the study of fundamental questions in developmental biology as exemplified by the nuclear transplantation experiment resulting in the birth of the ewe “Dolly”. This key result demonstrated that a mammalian nucleus isolated from an adult somatic tissue can be reprogrammed by the egg to direct the full development of a mammal (1). More recently, the re-programming by gene transfer of mouse (2) and human (3, 4) fibroblasts in cells displaying characteristics of embryonic stem cells creates new and unique opportunities to study the impact of mutations and the cause of diseases.

* 1. Wilmut I, Schnieke AE, McWhir J, Kind AJ, Campbell KH. Viable offspring derived from fetal and adult mammalian cells. Nature 1997, 385, 810-813

* 2. Takahashi K, Yamanaka S. Induction of pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryonic and adult fibroblast cultures by defined factors. Cell 2006, 126, 663-676

* 3. Takahashi K, Tanabe K, Ohnuki M, Narita M, Ichisaka T, Tomoda K, Yamanaka S. Induction of pluripotent stem cells from adult human fibroblasts by defined factors. Cell 2007, 131, 1-12

* 4. Yu J, Vodyanik MA, Smuga-Otto K, Antosiewicz-Bourget J, Frane JL, Tian S, Nie J, Jonsdottir GA, Ruotti V, Stewart R, Slukvin II, Thomson JA Induced pluripotent stem cell lines derived from human somatic cells. Science 2007, 318, 1917-20