Right Turn: Come one, come all to Signals’ 2018 blog carnival

  Two years ago in August, Signals hosted a blog carnival and it was such a success we’ve been doing it ever since. If you are scratching your head at the term “blog carnival” and wondering if this website has been hacked, I recommend you read the section below. If you followed the fun in 2017 and/or 2016, you may want to skip ahead to the section where the topic is revealed. Read this section…

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The Betrayal: turning cancer against itself

I honestly believe that we’re living in the most exciting time for cancer therapeutics. The past few years (dare I say decades, even?) have pushed the boundaries of cancer treatment from radiation and chemotherapy to the use of cancer-targeted antibodies, oncolytic viruses and the more recent approval of CAR-T cells (see my previous post on CAR-T cells). And now we have yet another possible approach to add to this list: reprogramming cancer cells to target…

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Going in for the kill: NK cells enter the immunotherapy arena

Erika Siren lives in Vancouver, British Columbia where she is currently a Ph.D Candidate in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Chemistry. Under the supervision of Dr. Jayachandran Kizhakkedathu, Erika develops biomaterials that can be used to manipulate the immune system. Away from the bench, Erika has a keen interest in the challenges that face the commercialization, policy development and public perception of therapies in regenerative medicine. Connect with Erika on Linkedin here. Human NK…

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The long road to commercialization

Carmen Wong completed her PhD studies on creating viruses for cancer research. Since then, she has been working with inventors from universities, accelerators, and startup companies to commercialize their innovations. Carmen was a commercialization analyst with CCRM from 2016-2018. In her free time, Carmen is developing her design skills and hopes to incorporate them into science outreach and communication projects.  credit: CCRM At networking events, the following conversation typically takes place when I meet someone…

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Single-cell RNA sequencing: An emerging superpower in stem cell research

Lyla El-Fayomi is an MSc student in the Molecular Genetics department at the University of Toronto. Under the supervision of Dr. Derek van der Kooy at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research, she is currently studying neural stem cells using single-cell RNA sequencing. She also studies the neurobiology of opiate addiction using optogenetics. For more, follow Lyla on twitter at @LylaElfay. scRNAseq of common myeloid progenitors (green; middle) diverging into populations of erythrocytes…

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Are blood stem cells hiding inside the bone to avoid sun damage?

In dyeing poison frog, HSC production moves from the kidney to the bone marrow during metamorphosis to avoid damage from sunlight that’s harsher on the surface of the earth than in the water, new study suggests. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons) Blood stem cells may have evolved to inhabit bone tissue to avoid DNA damage from UV rays, a Harvard study suggests. Also known as haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), these cells are tasked with making blood —…

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The Facts around FACT – Part 2

Debe Griffin, MSc, ASQ CPGP, has over 20 years of experience in the cell therapy field, both in bench positions and in leadership. Her primary interests are process improvement, quality assurance and regulatory affairs. She is a consultant with FACT Consulting Services as well as Chimera TQM. She has over a decade of experience as a FACT inspector and auditor. In this month’s post, invited guest blogger Debe Griffin discusses the changes to the Foundation for…

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The Facts around FACT – Part 1

Debe Griffin, MSc, ASQ CPGP, has over 20 years of experience in the cell therapy field, both in bench positions and in leadership. Her primary interests are process improvement, quality assurance and regulatory affairs. She is a consultant with FACT Consulting Services as well as Chimera TQM. She has over a decade of experience as a FACT inspector and auditor. In this month’s post, invited guest blogger Debe Griffin discusses the changes to the Foundation for…

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Gene therapy makes inroads to help patients — and clear its name

Adeno-associated virus is being used in gene therapy to shuttle healthy genes into the body. Credit: WikiMediaCommons Plagued by failures of early human studies from the 1990s, including the death of a patient, gene therapy is making a comeback with promising results. And it has a tiny virus to thank. After the first 2012 European gene therapy approval for a liver disease, and last year’s first U.S. approval of a therapy for blindness, a revamped…

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Right Turn: A perfect blend of coffee and science

When I worked for the Alzheimer Society of Canada, I paid attention to studies about coffee and brain health. That was also the time in my life when I started drinking coffee. This had less to do with concern about mild cognitive impairment or dementia, and more to do with a fear of falling asleep at my desk thanks to a toddler and baby at home. I left that job more than a decade ago,…

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