"Embryonic and other stem cells of differentiated tissues provide important models for understanding basic processes associated with development and differentiation. Although research on embryonic stem cell biology using animal models is still in its early stages, it is a very promising approach to unraveling developmental processes. Once the processes and factors that govern proliferation and differentiation of embryonic stem cells are better understood, this approach offers the potential for therapeutic interventions in birth defects and abnormal immunological development, particularly those involving cell and tissue replacement. To accomplish this goal, the Institute will support studies to characterize and define embryonic and postnatally derived stem cells from different species, identify factors that stimulate and trigger the proliferation and differentiation of stem cells toward various cell lineages, and foster the use of stem cells as a tool for studying the processes of differentiation and cell lineage determination." This statement was excerpted from the NICHD Strategic Plan, 2000, which can be found at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/Documents/Developmenta_Biology.pdf (PDF - 2.82 MB)
While NICHD supports many grants covered by the topics listed above, grants on SPERMATOGONIAL STEM CELLS constitute the largest single stem cell topic currently funded by the NICHD, aside from the use of embryonic stem cells in making genetically modified mice. These cells are unique in that they are the only cells in the postnatal animal that can self-renew throughout life as well as transmit genes to future generations. In addition to their potential use in alleviating certain forms of male infertility, they can be used as an alternative method to produce transgenic animals or to otherwise modify genomes, to serve as a method to preserve fertility in young male cancer patients and to serve as a powerful and dynamic system to study stem cell biology.
Contact: Richard J. Tasca, Ph.D.Email: email@example.comPhone: 301-435-6973