Scientists create functional liver cells from stem cells

July 31, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The liver plays a critical role in human metabolism. As the gatekeeper of the digestive track, this massive organ is responsible for drug breakdown and is therefore the first to be injured due to overdose or misuse. Evaluating this drug-induced liver injury is a critical part of pharmaceutical drug discovery and must be carried out on human liver cells. Regretfully, human liver cells, called hepatocytes, are in scarce supply as they can only be isolated from donated organs.

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Production of iPS cells: Discovery of the fifth element

July 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Since 2006, research has succeeded in generating, from specialised adult cells, induced pluripotent cells (iPS cells), with huge potential applications, particularly for regenerative medicine. However, the process has still not been completely mastered. Two teams of researchers from Inserm, CNRS, Centre Léon Bérard and Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University have discovered a molecule that may favour the production of these induced stem cells. Their work is published in Nature Communications, on 8 July 2015.

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Researchers uncover epigenetic switches that turn stem cells into blood vessel cells

June 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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Infusions of donor bone marrow cells help children with inherited skin blistering

May 27, 2015 by · 1 Comment 

Promising results from a trial of a new stem-cell based therapy for a rare and debilitating skin condition have been published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. The therapy, involving infusions of stem cells, was found to provide pain relief and to reduce the severity of this skin condition for which no cure currently exists.

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New transitional stem cells discovered

April 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Pre-eclampsia is a disease that affects 5 to 8 percent of pregnancies in America. Complications from this disease can lead to emergency cesarean sections early in pregnancies to save the lives of the infants and mothers. Scientists believe pre-eclampsia is caused by a number of factors, including shallow placentas that are insufficiently associated with maternal blood vessels. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri, in an effort to grow placenta cells to better study the causes of pre-eclampsia, serendipitously discovered a previously unknown form of human embryonic stem cell.

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Does gestational diabetes affect the therapeutic potential of umbilical cord-derived stem cells?

January 21, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Multipotent cells isolated from the human umbilical cord, called mesenchymal stromal cells (hUC-MSCs) have shown promise for use in cell therapy to treat a variety of human diseases. However, intriguing new evidence shows that hUC-MSCs isolated from women with gestational diabetes demonstrate premature aging, poorer cell growth, and altered metabolic function, as reported in an article in Stem Cells and Development, a peer-reviewed journal fromMary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Stem Cells and Development website until February 17th, 2015.

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Bone stem cells shown to regenerate bones and cartilage in adult mice

January 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A stem cell capable of regenerating both bone and cartilage has been identified in bone marrow of mice. The discovery by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) is reported today in the online issue of the journal Cell.

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Signaling molecule crucial to stem cell reprogramming

November 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

While investigating a rare genetic disorder, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that a ubiquitous signaling molecule is crucial to cellular reprogramming, a finding with significant implications for stem cell-based regenerative medicine, wound repair therapies and potential cancer treatments.

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Transplanting neural progenitors to build a neuronal relay across the injured spinal cord

August 6, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Cellular transplantation for repair of spinal cord injury is a promising therapeutic strategy that includes the use of a variety of neural and non-neural cells isolated or derived from embryonic and adult tissue as well as embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. In particular, transplants of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) have been shown to limit secondary injury and scar formation and create a permissive environment in the injured spinal cord through the provision of neurotrophic molecules and growth supporting matrices that promote growth of injured host axons. Importantly, transplants of NPC are unique in their potential to replace lost neural cells – including neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes – critical for reconstruction of the normal microenvironment of the spinal cord and restoration of connectivity and function. The model that Prof. Itzhak Fischer comes from Drexel University in USA has proposed focuses on the formation of a functional relay to reconnect the injured spinal cord and requires the formation of two synaptic connections, one between host axons and graft-derived neurons, and the other between graft axons and target sites within the host (Figure 1). The design of such a relay requires specific steps that assure: 1) graft survival and generation of neurons, 2) axon growth into and out of the graft by host axons and graft-derived neurons, respectively and 3) formation of physiologically active synaptic connections and restoration of function. The relevant study has been published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 9, No. 12, 2014).

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Spinal cord mass arising from neural stem cell therapy

July 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

A spinal mass was identified in a young woman with complete spinal cord injury 8 years after she had undergone implantation of olfactory mucosal cells in the hopes of regaining sensory and motor function. The case is reported and discussed in “Autograft-derived spinal cord mass following olfactory mucosal cell transplantation in a spinal cord injury patient. Case report,” by Brian J. Dlouhy, MD, Olatilewa Awe, MD, Rajesh C. Rao, MD, Patricia A. Kirby, MD, and Patrick W. Hitchon, MD, published today online, ahead of print, in theJournal of Neurosurgery: Spine. The authors state that this is the first report of a spinal cord mass arising from spinal cord cell transplantation and neural stem cell therapy, and they caution that physicians should be vigilant in their follow-up of patients who undergo stem cell interventions.

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