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Blocking differentiation is enough to give cells ‘stemness’

October 23, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Though immune therapy and regenerative medicine are promising areas of research for future medical therapies, they are limited today by the difficulty of creating stem cells, and scientists around the world are searching for ways to create somatic stem cells in the easiest way possible. Now, a collaboration between the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Science (IMS) and other institutions in Japan and Europe have found that in immune cells, simply blocking a transcription factor that leads to differentiation is sufficient to keep cells in a multipotent stem cell-like state where they can continue to proliferate and can later differentiate into various cell types.

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Sticky gel helps stem cells heal rat hearts

September 28, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A sticky, protein-rich gel created by Johns Hopkins researchers appears to help stem cells stay on or in rat hearts and restore their metabolism after transplantation, improving cardiac function after simulated heart attacks, according to results of a new study.

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Sustained remission of multiple myeloma achieved after personalized cellular therapy

September 10, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A multiple myeloma patient whose cancer had stopped responding after nine different treatment regimens experienced a complete remission after receiving an investigational personalized cellular therapy known as CTL019 developed by a team at the University of Pennsylvania. The investigational treatment was combined with chemotherapy and an autologous stem cell transplant – a new strategy designed to target and kill the cells that give rise to myeloma cells.

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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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Scientists identify gene vital for rebuilding intestine after cancer treatment

July 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The stem cells in our gut divide so fast that they create a completely new population of epithelial cells every week. But this quick division is also why radiation and chemotherapy wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal systems of cancer patients – such therapies target rapidly dividing cells. Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center found that a rare type of stem cell is immune to radiation damage thanks to high levels of a gene called Sox9.

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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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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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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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Scientist at LIMR leads study demonstrating drug-induced tissue regeneration

June 4, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A study led by Ellen Heber-Katz, PhD, of the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR), part of Main Line Health (MLH), shows that a primordial form of energy production that still exists in mammals can be harnessed to achieve spontaneous tissue regeneration in mice, without the need for added stem cells. The study findings were reported in the June 3, 2015, issue of Science Translational Medicine, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Key collaborators in the study, which was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, included Yong Zhang, PhD (LIMR), Iossif Strehin, PhD (Allergan), and Phillip Messersmith, PhD (University of California, Berkeley).

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Safety switch preserves beneficial effects of cell therapy

May 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Researchers in the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist and Texas Children’s Hospital have found that a single dose of an otherwise harmless drug can safely control the severe and often lethal side effects associated with haploidentical stem cell transplantation. Due to the immune-compromising nature of haploidentical stem cell transplantation, where the stem cells are only half matched, patients are at an increased risk of viral infection and of a lethal complication called graft versus host disease, when the graft cells, which have immune potential, attack the tissues of the person whose original immune system has been eliminated as part of treatment. Investigators have now shown how a molecular “switch” (inducible caspase 9 or iC9) that is activated by a single dose of a bio-inert chemical is able to clear all symptoms of graft versus host disease without jeopardizing the ability of the infused graft to fight infection.

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