One of the ways that HSCI is able to accelerate scientific progress is by funding research centers that provide its entire research community with shared access to critical state-of-the-art technologies, expertise, and services that are beyond the means of any individual laboratory or institution.
Therapeutic Screening Center
At HSCI's Therapeutic Screening Center, headed by Lee Rubin, PhD, Director of Translational Medicine at HSCI, researchers perform screening assays against stem cells or cells grown from stem cells in order to identify small molecules, compounds, gene products, and proteins that could be turned into diverse therapeutics to cure diseases.
One way that screening assays use disease-specific cell lines is to look for drugs that could help treat a given disease. The stem cell-based screens pursue this goal by addressing questions on two levels. The first asks mechanistic questions about a specific disease's biology and the second explores how these mechanistic insights can be translated into the search for therapeutic targets.
Screens can also be used to search for drugs or biologics that direct stem cells into becoming a specific type of cell—a process known as targeted differentiation. Knowing how to generate a certain type of cell from stem cells is critical for treating conditions where cells have been injured or died, such as in diabetes.
iPS Core Facility
In August 2008, HSCI Executive Committee member George Daley, MD, PhD, together with HSCI faculty Chad Cowan, PhD, and Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD, and other colleagues, published that he had produced a robust collection of 20 disease-specific stem cell lines using the new iPS technique. Coupled with this achievement was the announcement of a new HSCI iPS Core Facility located at Massachusetts General Hospital that will serve as a repository for iPS cells produced by HSCI scientists. The core will also function as a technical laboratory to produce these disease-specific lines and make them available to scientists worldwide.