Cure Duchenne Scientist of the Month – Thomas Rando, M.D., Ph.D.

Thomas Rando, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine and director of Stanford’s Glenn Laboratories for the Biology of Aging, has focused his entire career researching muscular dystrophy.

The main areas of interest of the Rando Laboratory are muscle stem cell biology, muscle stem cell aging, muscular dystrophies, tissue engineering and basic muscle cell biology. Dr. Rando’s research focuses on the restorative and repair mechanism of stem cells. The lab has a long-standing interest in understanding the mechanisms of cell injury and cell death in muscular dystrophies and the development of novel therapeutics. The long term goal is to develop stem cell therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

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Firefly protein lights up degenerating muscles, aiding muscular-dystrophy research, scientists show

BY BRUCE GOLDMAN

Stanford University School of Medicine scientists have created a mouse model of muscular dystrophy in which degenerating muscle tissue gives off visible light.

The observed luminescence occurs only in damaged muscle tissue and in direct proportion to cumulative damage sustained in that tissue, permitting precise monitoring of the disease’s progress in the mice, the researchers say.

While this technique cannot be used in humans, it paves the way to quicker, cheaper and more accurate assessment of the efficacy of therapeutic drugs. The new mouse strain is already being employed to test stem cell and gene therapy approaches for muscular dystrophies, as well as drug candidates now in clinical trials, said Thomas Rando, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and neurological sciences and director of Stanford’s Glenn Laboratories for the Biology of Aging.

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Rando Videocast: Is aging reversible? : resetting the clock

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NIH Director’s Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series: The Annual Florence Mahoney Lecture

Aging is a process that is generally viewed as unidirectional, relentless, and inevitable. However, in addition to the existence of non-aging species, or at least species with negligible senescence, data from a wide range of living organisms suggests that environmental influences can markedly slow and even halt the aging process. Furthermore, recent experimental evidence suggests that aspects of the molecular and functional characteristics of aged cells and tissues even in mammals can be restored to a more youthful state. Analyses of age-related changes in cells have revealed clear epigenetic changes, and the reversibility of some of those processes, in essence leading to cell and tissue rejuvenation, suggest epigenetic mechanisms.

Current studies focus on understanding the nature and regulation of those epigenetic mechanisms and the extent to which the aging clock can be rewound or reset by defined environmental influences while leaving other cellular characteristics, such as their state of differentiation, intact.

Rando Podcast: Regenerative Medicine Today #111

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Regenerative Medicine Today welcomes Thomas Rando, MD, PhD. 

Dr. Rando discusses his research in muscle stem cell biology as well as his role in the upcoming Regenerative Rehabilitation Symposium in Pittsburgh.

 

 

Scientists trigger muscle stem cells to divide

Thomas Rando

BY KRISTA CONGER

A tiny piece of RNA plays a key role in determining when muscle stem cells from mice activate and start to divide, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The finding may help scientists learn how to prepare human muscle stem cells for use in therapies for conditions such as muscular dystrophy and aging by controlling their activation state.

It’s the first time that a small regulatory RNA, called a microRNA, has been implicated in the maintenance of the adult stem cell resting, or quiescent, state.

“Although on the surface the quiescent state seems to be relatively static, it’s quite actively maintained,” said Thomas Rando, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and neurological sciences. “We’ve found that changing the levels of just one specific microRNA in resting muscle stem cells, however, causes them to spring into action.”

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