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Restoring vision with stem cells

October 8, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Age-related macular degeneration (AMRD) could be treated by transplanting photoreceptors produced by the directed differentiation of stem cells, thanks to findings published today by Professor Gilbert Bernier of the University of Montreal and its affiliated Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital. ARMD is a common eye problem caused by the loss of cones. Bernier’s team has developed a highly effective in vitro technique for producing light sensitive retina cells from human embryonic stem cells. “Our method has the capacity to differentiate 80% of the stem cells into pure cones,” Professor Gilbert explained. “Within 45 days, the cones that we allowed to grow towards confluence spontaneously formed organised retinal tissue that was 150 microns thick. This has never been achieved before.”

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Variations in cell programs control cancer and normal stem cells

September 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In the breast, cancer stem cells and normal stem cells can arise from different cell types but tap into distinct yet related stem cell programs, according to Whitehead Institute researchers. The differences between these stem cell programs may be significant enough to be exploited by future therapeutics.

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Protein identified that favors neuroprotective glial cell formation from stem cells

August 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

An international team of researchers has shown that NFIX, a protein that regulates neuronal stem cell activity (NSC), also has a role in driving NSC differentiation toward oligodendrocytes, a type of glial cell. These cells produce the myelin that surrounds and protects neurons. Evidence supporting this mechanism in mice and its potential in the development of NSC-based therapy for brain injury, demyelinating diseases, and brain tumors are discussed in a study published in Stem Cells and Development, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Stem Cells and Development website until September 6, 2015.

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Factors released following stem cell transplantation therapeutically impact serious burns

June 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

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Dying cells can protect their stem cells from destruction

May 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Cells dying as the result of radiation exposure or chemotherapy can send a warning to nearby stem cells. The chemical signal allows the stem cells to escape the same fate, University of Washington researchers report in the May 11 issue of the journal Nature Communications.

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First embryonic stem cell therapy safety trial in Asian patients

May 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A clinical trial in the Republic of Korea for patients with degenerative eye diseases is the first to test the safety of an embryonic stem cell therapy for people of Asian descent. The study, which followed four individuals for a year after they were treated with embryonic stem cell-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells for macular degeneration, observed no serious side effects (tumor growth or other unexpected effects) related to the therapy. The researchers report the results on April 30 inStem Cell Reports, the journal of theInternational Society for Stem Cell Research.

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Prenatal stem cell treatment improves mobility issues caused by spina bifida

April 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The lower-limb paralysis associated with spina bifida may be effectively treated before birth by combining a unique stem cell therapy with surgery, new research from UC Davis Health System has found.

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Stem cell disease model clarifies bone cancer trigger

April 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), a team led by Mount Sinai researchers has gained new insight into genetic changes that may turn a well known anti-cancer signaling gene into a driver of risk for bone cancers, where the survival rate has not improved in 40 years despite treatment advances.

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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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Stem cells derived from amniotic tissues have immunosuppressive properties

January 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Stem cells derived from human amnion have for some time been considered promising for cell therapies because of their ease of access, ability to differentiate, and absence of ethical issues. Now, a Japanese research team has found that stem cells derived from human female amnion also have immunosuppressive activity and that the addition of antibodies to specific factors can enhance their immunosuppressive potential.

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