Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Use For Stem Cells Found In War On Terrorism

Date:
September 26, 2007
Source:
University of Georgia
Summary:
For more than a decade, Steve Stice has dedicated his research using embryonic stem cells to improving the lives of people with degenerative diseases and debilitating injuries. His most recent discovery, which produces billions of neural cells from a few stem cells, could now aid in national security. In collaboration with the US Naval Research Laboratory, Stice hopes to use his recently developed neural cell kits to detect chemical threats.

For more than a decade, Steve Stice has dedicated his research using embryonic stem cells to improving the lives of people with degenerative diseases and debilitating injuries. His most recent discovery, which produces billions of neural cells from a few stem cells, could now aid in national security.

“It's like a canary-in-a-coal-mine scenario,” said Stice, a University of Georgia animal science professor and Georgia Research Alliance eminent scholar in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

In collaboration with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Stice hopes to use his recently developed neural cell kits to detect chemical threats.

“They have a device that looks like a small tool box that contains neural cells and can detect changes in their electrical activity,” Stice said. “When these cells’ activity is altered, you know there's something present that shouldn't be and they don't like it.”

The system now being used in the monitoring device uses mouse neural cells. “The problem is,” Stice said, “mouse neural cells die out pretty fast on their own. So if you tried sending this device out with the troops, somebody has to change out the cells every couple of weeks. Plus, mice aren't humans. They react very differently to chemicals than we do.”

Stice's neural cell kits created from human embryonic stem cell lines last up to six months. “We've never tested to see how far beyond that they're viable,” he said. “It could be much longer.”

Stice believes the project has “huge implications for Homeland Security and the Department of Defense.” He came on the idea when he was searching for immediate uses for his neural cell kits.

“I contacted researchers at NRL who had published a paper on the detection system. We met in Washington to see what we could do together,” he said. “They've developed the recording device, and we have the cells they need. So working together, we can vastly improve that project.”

Stice explained the device. “The monitoring system records electrical activity in the neural cells, which are usually in a set, rhythmic pattern,” he said, drawing a chart that looks like a pattern on a heart monitor.

“When faced with a chemical agent,” he said, “the electrical activity is reduced quite a bit, and the signals are erratic.” He shows the effect by shortening the length and frequency of the upward lines in the pattern.

“The computer interprets the neural cell signals and indicates a problem,” he said.

The researchers got support for the project from several congressmen, including Sen. Johnny Isakson and Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston.

Stice has already begun to think of implications beyond the obvious.

“We think that working with these human neural cells can lead to other collaborative projects in treating posttraumatic stress syndrome and head injuries from war,” he said. “Those are just two of the many possible spinoffs I foresee.”

The current system can detect an agent but it can't identify it. “We may be able to further develop the system so that for some chemicals there are signatures that will lead to a future way to rapidly identify exactly what the chemical is,” Stice said.

“Noncell systems available now can detect specified chemicals,” he said. “But this is a broader detection system that will be more valuable because we don't know what terrorists will hit us with.”

The idea is planted and the materials assembled. Now the waiting for funding begins.

“We can start as soon as the money comes,” Stice said. “We've already done the preliminary work. We know our cells will work with their system. How well they'll work is the question we'll have to answer.”

Stice feels this detection system is important to troops and civilians. “There's always a concern for nerve agents and unintentional effects of warfare where troops are in the way of chemical agents,” he said.

“The beauty of this system is that it will detect a wide range of chemical agents,” he said. “And the speed that they're detected is the beauty of these cells.”

To simplify the system and make it more mobile, Stice's team can preset each kit.

“We'll be able to preload the cells in the detection devices, and they're good to go for at least six months,” he said. “These systems will be useful in national defense, whether it's in a subway, an airport or on the front line of the war in Iraq.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Georgia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Georgia. "New Use For Stem Cells Found In War On Terrorism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070925130000.htm>.
University of Georgia. (2007, September 26). New Use For Stem Cells Found In War On Terrorism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070925130000.htm
University of Georgia. "New Use For Stem Cells Found In War On Terrorism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070925130000.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins