Replaceable You (and Other Free Stem Cells Courses)

Here’s anoth­er free, down­load­able course com­ing out Stan­ford, which will tell you how regen­er­a­tive med­i­cine can keep your body parts almost new. You can access it here on iTune­sU, and below we have post­ed the course descrip­tion. If stem cells hap­pen to pique your inter­est, then you may want to explore these two oth­er relat­ed Stan­ford cours­es: Straight Talk about Stem Cells and Stem Cells: Pol­i­cy and Ethics. Also remem­ber that you can down­load at least 200 free uni­ver­si­ty cours­es here.

Replace­able You: Stem Cells and Tis­sue Engi­neer­ing in this Age of Enlight­en­ment

“The good part about get­ting old­er is that we gain some wis­dom and patience. The bad part is that our bod­ies (knees, hips, organs, and more) start to wear out. But what if our bod­ies could be “repro­grammed” to grow new parts? The new field of regen­er­a­tive med­i­cine is try­ing to do just that, and it takes advan­tage of the process of regen­er­a­tion, which is nature’s solu­tion for repair­ing dam­aged tis­sues.

Although humans can­not re-grow their limbs like sala­man­ders and newts can, the capac­i­ty to regen­er­ate injured or dis­eased tis­sues exists in humans and oth­er ani­mals, and the mol­e­c­u­lar machin­ery for regen­er­a­tion seems to be an ele­men­tal part of our genet­ic make­up. The pre­vail­ing opin­ion is that the genes respon­si­ble for regen­er­a­tion have for some rea­son fall­en into dis­use, and they may be “jump start­ed” by the selec­tive acti­va­tion of key mol­e­cules. Using this knowl­edge, sci­en­tists are devel­op­ing new strate­gies to repair and, in some cas­es, regen­er­ate dam­aged or dis­eased tis­sues in both young and old patients. In this course, we will explore the excit­ing field of regen­er­a­tive med­i­cine and learn a lit­tle about what makes stem cells so spe­cial. We will also dis­cuss some of the recent dis­cov­er­ies that can poten­tial­ly allow us to be fit and healthy well into old age. Here, you will learn what is mere­ly sci­ence fic­tion and what, remark­ably, has become sci­ence fact in our new med­ical age.”

Jill Helms
Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor, Depart­ment of Plas­tic and Recon­struc­tive Surgery
Jill Helms joined the Stan­ford fac­ul­ty after eight years at UC San Fran­cis­co, where she was the Direc­tor of the Mol­e­c­u­lar and Cel­lu­lar Biol­o­gy Lab­o­ra­to­ry in the Depart­ment of Ortho­pe­dic Surgery. Her research focus­es on the par­al­lels between fetal tis­sue devel­op­ment and adult tis­sue regen­er­a­tion. She received a PhD in devel­op­men­tal neu­ro­bi­ol­o­gy and a clin­i­cal degree and spends the major­i­ty of her time in clin­i­cal­ly relat­ed research.

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