Switching mouse neural stem cells to a primate-like behavior

August 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

When the right gene is expressed in the right manner in the right population of stem cells, the developing mouse brain can exhibit primate-like features. In a paper publishing August 7th in the Open Access journal PLOS Biology, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) succeeded in mimicking the sustained expression of the transcription factor Pax6 as seen in the developing human brain, in mouse cortical progenitor cells. This altered the behavior of these cells to one that is akin to that of progenitors in the developing primate neocortex. Consequently, the mouse progenitors generated more neurons – a prerequisite for a bigger brain.

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Blood stem cells in a rush — velocity determines quality

July 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

For the first time, the research group of Prof. Claudia Waskow at the Carl Gustav Carus Faculty of Medicine at Dresden Technical University is now describing a new mechanism in which the length of the G1 phase of the cell cycle has a dramatic impact on the fitness of human blood stem cells. In the study, the shortened G1 phase resulted in much improved continuous production of mature blood cells from stem cells over a prolonged period of time. It is imaginable that the stem cell function can also be increased in the human body in the future by an acceleration of cell cycle transition kinetic. The work has now been published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine(DOI:10.1084/jem.20150308).

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Diabetic blindness: UVA IDs best source of stem cells to block vision loss

June 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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UTHealth research: Autologous stem cell therapy helpful in traumatic brain injury

June 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The use of cell therapy after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children can reduce the amount of therapeutic interventions needed to treat the patient, as well as the amount of time the child spends in neurointensive care, according to research by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School.

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More power to the mitochondria: Cells’ energy plant also plays key role in stem cell development

April 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered that mitochondria, the major energy source for most cells, also play an important role in stem cell development — a purpose notably distinct from the tiny organelle’s traditional job as the cell’s main source of the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy needed for routine cell metabolism.

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‘Open’ stem cell chromosomes reveal new possibilities for diabetes

April 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Stem cells hold great promise for treating a number of diseases, in part because they have the unique ability to differentiate, specializing into any one of the hundreds of cell types that comprise the human body. Harnessing this potential, though, is difficult. In some cases, it takes up to seven carefully orchestrated steps of adding certain growth factors at specific times to coax stem cells into the desired cell type. Even then, cells of the intestine, liver and pancreas are notoriously difficult to produce from stem cells. Writing in Cell Stem Cell April 2, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered why.

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Scientists pinpoint molecule that switches on stem cell genes

March 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Stem cells can have a strong sense of identity. Taken out of their home in the hair follicle, for example, and grown in culture, these cells remain true to themselves. After waiting in limbo, these cultured cells become capable of regenerating follicles and other skin structures once transplanted back into skin. It’s not clear just how these stem cells — and others elsewhere in the body — retain their ability to produce new tissue and heal wounds, even under extraordinary conditions.

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First stem cell-based approach to treat type 2 diabetes effective in mice

March 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A combination of human stem cell transplantation and antidiabetic drugs proved to be highly effective at improving body weight and glucose metabolism in a mouse model of type 2 diabetes. The findings, published March 19th by Stem Cell Reports, could set the stage for clinical trials to test the first stem cell-based approach for insulin replacement in patients with type 2 diabetes.

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Scientists grow ‘mini-lungs’ to aid the study of cystic fibrosis

March 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have successfully created ‘mini-lungs’ using stem cells derived from skin cells of patients with cystic fibrosis, and have shown that these can be used to test potential new drugs for this debilitating lung disease.

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Stem cells lurking in tumors can resist treatment

March 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Scientists are eager to make use of stem cells’ extraordinary power to transform into nearly any kind of cell, but that ability also is cause for concern in cancer treatment. Malignant tumors contain stem cells, prompting worries among medical experts that the cells’ transformative powers help cancers escape treatment.

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