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With Gratitude: Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Aurora WDC

Happy Thanksgiving from your friends at Aurora WDC

Aurora WDC Sponsors 9th Annual Stem Cell Research Benefit

No matter how successful we might be in our work, when we look back on our lives, we are defined by how we responded to those around us in need.

The opportunities we are given to serve others are what gives life real meaning and one example of Aurora's opportunity to serve our community each year is an event I helped organize in 2003, in honor of a longtime friend of mine, David Busta.

David suffered a 30-foot fall which left him quadriplegic in the summer of 2002. Today, the David Busta Basketball Tournament & Silent Auction takes place every Thanksgiving weekend in our hometown of Chetek, Wisconsin to support healthcare and life science research at the UW-Madison's Waisman Center where the first stem cell lines were isolated nearly 20 years ago. We are proud to have raised over $250,000 in the past nine years for research to treat Spinal Cord injuries, ALS, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

But, whenever I reflect on what Aurora and so many others have contributed over the years to support this important work, I'm always struck by how grateful I am for what I have been given in working with David and our planning group every year. I encourage you to get involved in a non-profit event of your own - or learn how to join with us at - if you are not already part of something similar. You'll be glad you did.

On behalf of everyone at Aurora WDC, thank you for your ongoing partnership and consideration. As we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States this week, we will remember with gratitude the relationships we have with our colleagues around the world.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season ahead,

Derek L. Johnson

Derek L. Johnson, CFA
Chief Executive Officer
Aurora WDC
Phone: 608-850-4869

Aurora WDC | 800-924-4249 |
Madison Wisconsin USA

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Comment by Arik Johnson on November 22, 2011 at 2:14pm

According to this, Waisman's getting results too:

Pretty cool to think that even the smallest efforts can work together to have such an impact!

- Arik


UW scientists grow neurons that integrate into brain

Photo courtesy of researcher Su-Chun Zhang

Neural cells made from human embryonic stem cells and implanted in the brains of mice have been shown to send and receive messages.

Research shows them sending, receiving messages from other cells

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have grown human embryonic stem cells into neurons that appear capable of adapting themselves to the brain's machinery by sending and receiving messages from other cells, raising hopes that medicine may one day use this tool to treat patients with such disorders as Parkinson's and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Researchers inserted the human cells into the brains of mice where they successfully integrated themselves into the wiring. Then the UW team applied a new technology, using light to stimulate the human cells and watching as they in turn activated mouse brain cells.

In a lab dish, the brain cells or neurons began firing simultaneously "like a power surge lighting up a building," said Jason Weick, an assistant scientist at UW who worked on the study published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Weick said the use of light stimulation, called optogenetics, raises the possibility of modifying transplanted brain cells, in effect turning them up or down like the dimmer control on a light.

"You can imagine that if the transplanted cells don't behave as they should, you could use this system to modulate them using light," said Su-Chun Zhang, a UW professor of neuroscience and one of the authors of the new study.

For years, scientists have talked of the possibility of growing neurons in a dish to replace damaged cells in the brain, but there always have been questions about whether the transplanted cells could become fully functional.

But the new work at UW suggests the idea may be poised to make the transition from theory to reality.

'Function of neurons'

"They have shown real function of neurons. This means they really can play a role in neural repair," said Arshak Alexanian, an associate professor in the department of neurosurgery at the Medical College of Wisconsin, who did not participate in the UW

Comment by Nikki Gainey on November 22, 2011 at 12:55pm

Awesome to see your outreach!  I hope this year's event is more successful than ever!

Comment by Michelle Drabik on November 22, 2011 at 12:13pm

*Thank you* for supporting stem cell research. Happy Thanksgiving!

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