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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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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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Is stem cell therapy less effective in older patients with chronic diseases?

January 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A promising new therapeutic approach to treat a variety of diseases involves taking a patient’s own cells, turning them into stem cells, and then deriving targeted cell types such as muscle or nerve cells to return to the patient to repair damaged tissues and organs. But the clinical effectiveness of these stem cells has only been modest, which may be due to the advanced age of the patients or the effects of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, according to a probing Review article published inBioResearch Open Access, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers . The article is available on theBioResearch Open Access website.

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From human embryonic stem cells to billions of human insulin producing cells

October 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Harvard stem cell researchers today announced that they have made a giant leap forward in the quest to find a truly effective treatment for type 1 diabetes, a condition that affects an estimated three million Americans at a cost of about $15 billion annually: With human embryonic stem cells as a starting point, the scientists are for the first time able to produce, in the kind of massive quantities needed for cell transplantation and pharmaceutical purposes, human insulin-producing beta cells equivalent in most every way to normally functioning beta cells.

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New tool aids stem cell engineering for medical research

August 29, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

A Mayo Clinic researcher and his collaborators have developed an online analytic tool that will speed up and enhance the process of re-engineering cells for biomedical investigation. CellNet is a free-use Internet platform that uses network biology methods to aid stem cell engineering. Details of CellNet and its application to stem cell engineering are described in two back-to-back papers in the journal Cell.

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Biologists reprogram skin cells to mimic rare disease

August 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Johns Hopkins stem cell biologists have found a way to reprogram a patient’s skin cells into cells that mimic and display many biological features of a rare genetic disorder called familial dysautonomia. The process requires growing the skin cells in a bath of proteins and chemical additives while turning on a gene to produce neural crest cells, which give rise to several adult cell types. The researchers say their work substantially expedites the creation of neural crest cells from any patient with a neural crest-related disorder, a tool that lets physicians and scientists study each patient’s disorder at the cellular level.

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Tissue development ‘roadmap’ created to guide stem cell medicine

August 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

In a boon to stem cell research and regenerative medicine, scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and Boston University have created a computer algorithm called CellNet as a “roadmap” for cell and tissue engineering, to ensure that cells engineered in the lab have the same favorable properties as cells in our own bodies. CellNet and its application to stem cell engineering are described in two back-to-back papers in the August 14 issue of the journal Cell.

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Matrix stiffness is an essential tool in stem cell differentiation

August 11, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Bioengineers at the University of California, San Diego have proven that when it comes to guiding stem cells into a specific cell type, the stiffness of the extracellular matrix used to culture them really does matter. When placed in a dish of a very stiff material, or hydrogel, most stem cells become bone-like cells. By comparison, soft materials tend to steer stem cells into soft tissues such as neurons and fat cells. The research team, led by bioengineering professor Adam Engler, also found that a protein binding the stem cell to the hydrogel is not a factor in the differentiation of the stem cell as previously suggested. The protein layer is merely an adhesive, the team reported Aug. 10 in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Materials.

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Scientists uncover stem cell behavior of human bowel for the first time

August 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

For the first time, scientists have uncovered new information on how stem cells in the human bowel behave, revealing vital clues about the earliest stages in bowel cancer development and how we may begin to prevent it.

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Inner ear stem cells hold promise for restoring hearing

June 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Spiral ganglion cells are essential for hearing and their irreversible degeneration in the inner ear is common in most types of hearing loss. Adult spiral ganglion cells are not able to regenerate. However, new evidence in a mouse model shows that spiral ganglion stem cells present in the inner ear are capable of self-renewal and can be grown and induced to differentiate into mature spiral ganglion cells as well as neurons and glial cells, as described in an article inBioResearch Open Access, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the BioResearch Open Access website.

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