UC Davis professor gives stem cell seminar

Cintia Lopez and Cintia Lopez

What if you could have a new liver made specifically for you? What if a paralysis patient could walk again? What if missing pieces of bones could regrow? It can all be possible with stem cell research.

On Wednesday Feb. 23, American River College hosted college hour featuring Dr. Gerhard Bauer, director of the Good Manufacturing Practice laboratory, from the University of California, Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures.

The seminar was given so that students in the science field can be informed about the advances being made on stem cell research.
“It may seem like science fiction, but (stem cell research) is a reality,” Bauer said.

According to Bauer’s presentation, stem cell research has been around since 1956 when the very first successful bone marrow transplant was completed.
“When a bone marrow transplant is done, the body gets a whole new immune system,” Bauer explained.

Stem cells can be found in bone marrow, umbilical cords, and mobilized peripheral blood. Stem cells cannot be taken from an aborted fetus.
The institute has worked on different projects including bone repair, bioengineered organs, liver repair, and other health issues.
Totipotent stem cells can make complete organs, but not organisms.

“All of your cells carry all of the genes to make organs for your body,” Bauer said.
To prove this, Bauer showed a slide of heart cells beating in synchronization.

The last five minutes of the presentation were reserved for questions. The most important question asked was, “Which of your projects is currently being approved to be used in hospitals?” to which Bauer responded that many of their projects are on their way to be approved including liver repair and neurodevelopmental disease cures

Another type of stem cells that Bauer mentioned is hematopoietic cells, or adult type stem cells. These cells are taken from a person’s bone marrow and give rise to all blood cell types. The institution’s overall goal is to mainstream the acceptance of stem cells to benefit the public.

With UC Davis recently making it easier for ARC students to transfer, it was very generous of them to send out Bauer and give this seminar on our campus.


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