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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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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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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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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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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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New stem cell may overcome hurdles for regenerative medicine

May 7, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Scientists at the Salk Institute have discovered a novel type of pluripotent stem cell–cells capable of developing into any type of tissue–whose identity is tied to their location in a developing embryo. This contrasts with stem cells traditionally used in scientific study, which are characterized by their time-related stage of development.

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Odd histone helps suppress jumping genes in stem cells, study says

May 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

A family of proteins known as histones provides support and structure to DNA, but for years, scientists have been puzzling over occasional outliers among these histones, which appear to exist for specific, but often mysterious reasons. Now, researchers have uncovered a new purpose for one such histone variant: preventing genetic mutations by keeping certain so-called “jumping genes” in place.

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More power to the mitochondria: Cells’ energy plant also plays key role in stem cell development

April 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center have discovered that mitochondria, the major energy source for most cells, also play an important role in stem cell development — a purpose notably distinct from the tiny organelle’s traditional job as the cell’s main source of the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy needed for routine cell metabolism.

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Stem-cell-based therapy promising for treatment of breast cancer metastases in the brain

April 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have developed an imageable mouse model of brain-metastatic breast cancer and shown the potential of a stem-cell-based therapy to eliminate metastatic cells from the brain and prolong survival. The study published online in the journal Brain also describes a strategy of preventing the potential negative consequences of stem cell therapy.

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U-M researchers find new gene involved in blood-forming stem cells

April 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Research led by the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute has identified a gene critical to controlling the body’s ability to create blood cells and immune cells from blood-forming stem cells–known as hematopoietic stem cells.

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