- Researchers uncover epigenetic switches that turn stem cells into blood vessel cells
- Drug discovery for Parkinson’s disease: LCSB researchers grow neurons in 3-D
- Diabetic blindness: UVA IDs best source of stem cells to block vision loss
- Factors released following stem cell transplantation therapeutically impact serious burns
- Stem cell injections improve diabetic neuropathy in animal models
- Protein plays unexpected role in embryonic stem cells
- Temple-led team uses stem cell exosomes to induce damaged mouse hearts to self-repair
- Researchers identify new stem cell population important in the growth of colon cancer
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have identified a molecular mechanism that directs embryonic stem cells to mature into endothelial cells — the specialized cells that form blood vessels. Understanding the processes initiated by this mechanism could help scientists more efficiently convert stem cells into endothelial cells for use in tissue repair, or for engineering blood vessels to bypass blockages in the heart.
The progressive loss of neurons in the brain of Parkinson’s patients is slow yet inexorable. So far, there are no drugs that can halt this insidious process. Researchers at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg have now managed to grow the types of neurons affected starting from neuronal stem cells in a three-dimensional cell culture system. The scientists working with Dr. Ronan Fleming of the LCSB research group Systems Biochemistry are confident this system could greatly facilitate the continuing search for therapeutic agents in future as it models the natural conditions in the brain more realistically than other systems available so far. It is also significantly cheaper to employ in the laboratory. The results were recently published in the journal “Lab on a Chip” (doi: 10.1039/C5LC00180C).
University of Virginia School of Medicine researchers have taken a significant step forward in their efforts to use stem cells to block vision loss caused by diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects millions of people with diabetes. The researchers have evaluated the best potential sources for adult stem cells to be used for that purpose, determining that cells taken from donors who do not suffer diabetes likely will be more effective than cells taken from patients’ own bodies.
Cell transplantation researchers have successfully used bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) to treat a variety of diseases and conditions. Now, using injections of MSCs, a research team in Brazil has successfully treated laboratory rats modeled with severe burns. They found that the MSCs accelerated healing, enhanced local blood supply, affected the immune system in a positive way, secreted beneficial growth factors with anti-inflammatory properties, and ultimately provided higher survival rates than in control animals not treated with MSCs.
Diabetic neuropathy (DN) is a condition in which perpetually high blood sugar causes nerve damage, resulting in a myriad of symptoms such as numbness, reduced ability to detect painful stimuli, muscle weakness, pain, and muscle spasms. DN affects up to 60 percent of patients with diabetes, is often the cause of foot ulcers, and can ultimately result in amputations. There is no curative therapy for DN, but a recent study carried out by a team of researchers in the U.S. and Korea has found that laboratory animals modeled with DN can experience both angiogenesis (blood vessel growth) and nerve re-myelination following injections of mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow (BM-MSCs).
What if you found out that pieces of your front door were occasionally flying off the door frame to carry out chores around the house? That’s the kind of surprise scientists at the Salk Institute experienced with their recent discovery that nucleoporins — proteins that act as cellular ‘doorways’ to help manage what goes in and out of a cell’s nucleus — are actually much bigger players in expressing genes than previously thought.