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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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Scientists sequence genome of worm that can regrow body parts, seeking stem cell insights

September 22, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Tourists spending a recuperative holiday on the Italian coast may be envious of the regenerative abilities of locally found flatworm Macrostomum lignano. Named for its discovery near the Italian beach town of Lignano Sabbiadoro, this tiny worm can regenerate almost its whole body following an injury, and researchers have long been trying to understand how it’s able to pull off this trick.

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Filling a void in stem cell therapy

September 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Stem cell therapies are often limited by low survival of transplanted stem cells and the lack of precise control over their differentiation into the terminal cell types needed to repair or replace injured tissues. Now, a team led by Wyss Institute Core Faculty member David Mooney, Ph.D., has developed a new strategy – embedding stem cells into porous, transplantable hydrogels – that has experimentally improved bone repair by boosting the survival rate of transplanted stem cells and influencing their cell differentiation.

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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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Stem cells move one step closer to cure for genetic diseases

July 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Stem cells are key for the continual renewal of tissues in our bodies. As such, manipulating stem cells also holds much promise for biomedicine if their regenerative capacity can be harnessed. However, understanding how stem cells govern normal tissue renewal is a field still in its infancy.

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Stem cell switch on the move

May 31, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

The roots of a plant are constantly growing, so that they can provide the plant with water and minerals while also giving it a firm anchor in the ground. Responsible for these functions are pluripotent stem cells. In order to avoid differentiation and to remain pluripotent, these stem cells are dependent on signals from their neighbouring cells. These signals are generated by only a small group of slowly dividing cells in the so-called quiescent centre inside the root. An international consortium under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Thomas Laux, a biologist from the University of Freiburg, has identified the transcription factor WUSCHEL HOMEOBOX (WOX) 5 as the signal molecule, showing that it moves through pores from the cells inside the quiescent centre into the stem cells. The team of researchers has published their findings in the professional journal Developmental Cell. ‘Solving the mechanism by which signals within the root control stem cell activity has implications for the general workings of the stem cell regulation in plants and humans,’ Laux said. He also explained that this will allow scientists to study how plant growth adjusts to different environmental conditions, adding that, ‘this is a fascinating field of research in the era of climate change.’

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Team pinpoints genes that make plant stem cells, revealing origin of beefsteak tomatoes

May 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A team of scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) has identified a set of genes that control stem cell production in tomato. Mutations in these genes explain the origin of mammoth beefsteak tomatoes. More important, the research suggests how breeders can fine-tune fruit size in potentially any fruit-bearing crop. The research appears online today in Nature Genetics.

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Scientists grow ‘mini-lungs’ to aid the study of cystic fibrosis

March 19, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have successfully created ‘mini-lungs’ using stem cells derived from skin cells of patients with cystic fibrosis, and have shown that these can be used to test potential new drugs for this debilitating lung disease.

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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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Stem cells faulty in Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Stanford researchers find

December 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Like human patients, mice with a form of Duchenne muscular dystrophy undergo progressive muscle degeneration and accumulate connective tissue as they age. Now, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that the fault may lie at least partly in the stem cells that surround the muscle fibers.

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