Dr. Terry Bard, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Chair, BRF Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee); Adam Schwartz, President Bedford Chamber of Commerce; Alexis Agnew, BRF SPAR Coordinator; Senator Mike Barrett; Dr. Fred Davis, Professor of Biology, Northeastern University; Margaret Wray, BRF Trustee; Dr. Ann Kiessling, Director, BRF; Representative Ken Gordon; Ryan Kiessling, Chief of Operations, BRF - Courtesy image (c) BRF, 2015

The festive ribbon cutting ceremony (l-r) Dr. Terry Bard, Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Chair, BRF Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee); Adam Schwartz, President Bedford Chamber of Commerce; Alexis Agnew, BRF SPAR Coordinator; Senator Mike Barrett; Dr. Fred Davis, Professor of Biology, Northeastern University; Margaret Wray, BRF Trustee; Dr. Ann Kiessling, Director, BRF; Representative Ken Gordon; Ryan Kiessling, Chief of Operations, BRF – Courtesy image (c) BRF, 2015

Submitted by Bedford Research Foundation

L to R (front), Joel Parks, Nancy Dolberg, wife of Senator Mike Barrett hugging Cole Parks.  In the background are other BRF Open House attendees, Pat Pellegrini, _______, _______, Andrew Guisbond, Representative Ken Gordon.- Courtesy image (c) BRF, 2015

Joel Parks (L) and Senator Barrett’s wife Nancy Dolberg, with Senator Mike Barrett and Cole Parks. In the background are Patricia Pellegrini and Virginia Crocker on the left, and Andrew Guisbond with Representative Ken Gordon on the right.- Courtesy image (c) BRF, 2015

Senator Mike Barrett, Representative Ken Gordon and BRF Director Dr. Ann Kiessling cut the ribbon for the official opening of stem cell research in Bedford.

“I’m proud and excited to have such ground breaking research in our town,” declared Senator Barrett.  “Bedford Research scientists are developing stem cells from eggs, not from embryos, thus bypassing many of the ethical dilemmas associated with stem cell research.”

“Dr. Kiessling and her staff have shown their determination to tackle some of the most difficult health problems of our day and it is exciting that their work will now continue in Bedford,” said Representative Ken Gordon, “Welcome!”

Each of the research projects were represented by demonstrations and posters.

BRF scientists are currently deriving new lines of stem cells from mouse eggs as a model system.  One poster by Maureen Kearnan explained it takes about 19 days for an egg activated artificially, without sperm (parthenogenesis), to turn into a million stem cells.

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Dr. Joel Lawitts, Lab Director, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, performing the mouse egg microinjections displayed to the right. The egg is being held steady by slight suction from the smooth glass pipette on the right hand side of the screen. The sharp glass needle on the left contains reagents to inactivate CCR5, the receptor for HIV. The injected egg will be cultured for about three weeks to develop into stem cells that will then be analyzed to see if the experiment successfully inactivated the HIV receptor, and nothing else by mistake. The current goal of these experiments is to improve the efficiency of deriving stem cells that are specifically resistant to infection by HIV – Courtesy image (c) BRF, 2015

Dr. Joel Lawitts, lab director at Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center, demonstrated microinjection of mouse eggs, part of the project to develop stem cells resistant to infection by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.  Approximately 1% of the human population is naturally resistant to HIV infection because their cells lack a protein receptor necessary for the virus to gain entry.  A new method to “knock out” that protein in eggs at the time they are activated could lead to new stem cells resistant to HIV.

Dr. Fred Davis, Professor of Biology, Northeastern University, explaining circadian rhythms to Open House Attendees.  Dr. Davis is the circadian rhythm expert collaborating with BRF scientists to understand the role of circadian rhythms in stem cell development. - Courtesy image (c) BRF, 2015

Dr. Fred Davis, Professor of Biology, Northeastern University, explaining circadian rhythms to Open House Attendees. Dr. Davis is the circadian rhythm expert collaborating with BRF scientists to understand the role of circadian rhythms in stem cell development. – Courtesy image (c) BRF, 2015

BRF scientists discovered a few years ago that circadian rhythms may be important to stem cell development.  Dr. Fred Davis, Professor of Biology, Northeastern University, described circadian rhythms and assisted open house attendees in determining their “chromo-type” — morning person?  or night person?

A few years ago, BRF scientists discovered a new approach for screening semen specimens for diseases of the prostate, including infection (“prostatitis”) and cancer.  Two posters described these on-going studies, and a sign-up sheet were provided for men interested in more information about the studies.  Inquiries may be directed to lab@bedfordresearch.org

Open House attendees viewing the BRF educational video that explains the current work to derive stem cells resistant to HIV infection, www.bedfordresearch.org - Courtesy image (c) BRF, 2015

Open House attendees viewing the BRF educational video that explains the current work to derive stem cells resistant to HIV infection, www.bedfordresearch.org – Courtesy image (c) BRF, 2015

Twenty years ago, BRF scientists developed testing methods for HIV in semen that have been used to assist HIV-infected men safely have children without passing the virus on to mothers or babies.  Known as the Special Program of Assisted Reproduction (SPAR), more than 200 babies have been born world-wide, all negative for infection, as described by BRF SPAR coordinator, Alexis Agnew.

An independent, not-for-profit research facility, Bedford Research projects are entirely dependent on philanthropy  because the Wicker amendment to the budget of the National Institutes of Health prevents federal funding for research on human parthenote stem cells.  Fee-for-service testing helps cover costs of rent and overhead, which allows all research donations to be applied directly to the research projects.  A list of current research funding needs can be found at www.bedfordresearch.org

 Open House attendees viewing mouse egg microinjections - Courtesy image (c) BRF, 2015

Open House attendees viewing mouse egg microinjections – Courtesy image (c) BRF, 2015

 

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