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Can stem cells cause and cure cancer?

August 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Simply put, cancer is caused by mutations to genes within a cell that lead to abnormal cell growth. Finding out what causes that genetic mutation has been the holy grail of medical science for decades. Researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Biosciences and Technology believe they may have found one of the reasons why these genes mutate and it all has to do with how stem cells talk to each other.

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Stem cells help researchers study the effects of pollution on human health

August 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Sciences (JES) shows that embryonic stem cells could serve as a model to evaluate the physiological effects of environmental pollutants efficiently and cost-effectively.

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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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Super-resolution microscopes reveal the link between genome packaging and cell pluripotency

March 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In 1953 Watson and Crick first published the discovery of the double helix structure of the DNA. They were able to visualize the DNA structure by means of X-Ray diffraction. Techniques, such as electron microscopy, allowed scientists to identify nucleosomes, the first and most basic level of chromosome organisation. Until now it was known that our DNA is packaged by regular repeating units of those nucleosomes throughout the genome giving rise to chromatin. However, due to the lack of suitable techniques and instruments, the chromatin organisation inside a cell nucleus could not be observed in a non-invasive way with the sufficient resolution. Now, for the first time, a group of scientists at the CRG and ICFO in Barcelona, have been able to visualise and even count the smallest units which, packaged together, form our genome. This study was possible thanks to the use of super-resolution microscopy, a new cutting-edge optical technique that received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2014. In combination with innovative quantitative approaches and numerical simulations, they were also able to define the genome architecture at the nano-scale. Most importantly, they found that the nucleosomes are assembled in irregular groups across the chromatin and nucleosome-free-DNA regions separate these groups.

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Seemingly invincible cancers stem cells reveal a weakness

June 7, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Metastatic cancer cells, which can migrate from primary tumors to seed new malignancies, have thus far been resistant to the current arsenal of anticancer drugs. Now, however, researchers at Whitehead Institute have identified a critical weakness that actually exploits one of these cells’ apparent strengths—their ability to move and invade tissues.

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Stem-cell research: A new genetic switching element

May 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Slight modifications in their genome sequences play a crucial role in the conversion of pluripotent stem cells into various differentiated cell types. A team at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich has now identified the factor responsible for one class of modification.

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Several FDA-approved anti-cancer drugs induce stem cell tumors, perhaps thwarting therapy

March 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Using a new approach to systematically test chemotherapy drugs in an unusual animal model, a research team led by University of Massachusetts Amherst molecular biologist Michele Markstein, with Norbert Perrimon at Harvard Medical School, report that several have a serious side effect: Inducing hyper proliferation in stem cells that could lead to tumor recurrence.

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New method increases supply of embryonic stem cells

January 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A new method allows for large-scale generation of human embryonic stem cells of high clinical quality. It also allows for production of such cells without destroying any human embryos. The discovery is a big step forward for stem cell research and for the high hopes for replacing damaged cells and thereby curing serious illnesses such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

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Yeast, human stem cells drive discovery of new Parkinson’s disease drug targets

October 24, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Using a discovery platform whose components range from yeast cells to human stem cells, Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a novel Parkinson’s disease drug target and a compound capable of repairing neurons derived from Parkinson’s patients.

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Stem cell’s ‘Holy Grail’ a sugar-coated step closer

February 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Scientists have used sugar-coated scaffolding to move a step closer to the routine use of stem cells in the clinic and unlock their huge potential to cure diseases from Alzheimer’s to diabetes.

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