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May 16, 2014

Stem Cell Therapy Shows Promise for Multiple Sclerosis in Mouse Models

(Medical Xpress) – Mice crippled by an autoimmune disease similar to multiple sclerosis (MS) regained the ability to walk and run after a team of researchers led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), University of Utah and University of California (UC), Irvine implanted human stem cells into their injured spinal cords. Remarkably, the mice recovered even after their bodies rejected the human stem cells.

Stem Cells Made from Skin Grow New Bone in Monkeys for the First Time

(Healthline) – Researchers have shown for the first time that it is possible to grow new bone from stem cells made from an animal’s own skin cells. While this is not the first successful stem cell therapy tested on animals closely related to humans, it offers another potential source of stem cells for transplantation—the individual’s own adult cells.

May 15, 2014

Enzyme Helps Stem Cells Improve Recovery from Limb Injuries

(Medical Xpress) – Baban and Yu are collaborators on a study published in the journal PLOS ONE that shows one way stem cell therapy appears to intervene is with the help of an enzyme also used by a fetus to escape rejection by the mother’s immune system. Earlier studies indicate stem cells may improve recovery both by enabling new blood vessel growth and by turning down the now-severe inflammation, Baban said. The new study shows that indoleomine 2,3 dioxygenase, or IDO, widely known to dampen the immune response and create tolerance, plays an important role in regulating inflammation in that scenario. Stems cells and numerous other cell types are known to express IDO.

May 14, 2014

Stem Cell Research Points to Early Indicators of Schizophrenia

(BioScience Technology) – Using new stem cell technology, scientists at the Salk Institute have shown that neurons generated from the skin cells of people with schizophrenia behave strangely in early developmental stages, providing a hint as to ways to detect and potentially treat the disease early.  The findings of the study, published online in Molecular Psychiatry, support the theory that the neurological dysfunction that eventually causes schizophrenia may begin in the brains of babies still in the womb.

May 12, 2014

Patient Stem Cells Used to Make ‘Heart Disease-on-a-Chip”

(Medical Xpress) – Harvard scientists have merged stem cell and ‘organ-on-a-chip’ technologies to grow, for the first time, functioning human heart tissue carrying an inherited cardiovascular disease. The research appears to be a big step forward for personalized medicine, as it is working proof that a chunk of tissue containing a patient’s specific genetic disorder can be replicated in the laboratory.

Cancer-Specific Stem Cell Identified for Gastric Cancer

(Oncology Nurse Advisor) – Scientists have identified the cancer-specific stem cell that causes gastric cancer. This discovery opens up the possibility of developing new drugs for the treatment of this disease and other types of cancers. The research group, led by Chan Shing Leng, PhD, of the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, Malaysia, demonstrated for the first time that a cancer-specific variant of a cell surface protein, CD44v8-10, marks gastric cancer stem cells but not normal cells. The study was also the first to be conducted with human gastric tissue specimens and took 5 years to complete.

Scientists Decode Epigenetic Mechanisms Distinguishing Stem Cell Function and Blood Cancer

(Newswise) – Researchers at Dartmouth’s Norris Cotton Cancer Center have published results from a study Cell Reports that discovers a new mechanism that distinguishes normal blood stem cells from blood cancers. “These findings constitute a significant advance toward the goal of killing leukemia cells without harming the body’s normal blood stem cells which are often damaged by chemotherapy,” said Patricia Ernst, PhD, co-director of the Cancer Mechanisms Program of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center and an associate professor in Genetics at Geisel School of Medicine.

New Source of Fat Tissue Stem Cells Discovered

(Medical Xpress) – Researchers have found a new source of stem cells that produce fat tissue, findings presented today at the European Congress of Endocrinology in Wrocław, Poland, show. This unique in vitro human stem cell model of brown fat tissue could aid studies into how fat tissue develops and the development of new anti-obesity drugs.

May 9, 2014

First Stem Cell Trial for Stroke Shows Lasting Benefits

(New Scientist) – People who received the world’s first stem cell treatment for strokes have shown measurable reductions in disability and handicap a year after the injection into their damaged brains. Some can move limbs and manage everyday tasks that were impossible before they received an injection of neural progenitor stem cells, which were clones of cells originally taken from the cortex of a donated fetus.

Stem Cell Transplant Facilitated by Simulated Model of Eye’s 3D Structure

(Medical News Today) – Scientists have developed a model that mimics the complex structure of the cornea to enable the transplant of healthy corneal stem cells. The research was presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) this week in Orlando Fla. Used to restore sight, corneal stem cells live in a specific physical environment.

Open Science Journal Publishes Attempt to Reproduce High-Profile Stem Cell Acid Bath Study

( – In a study published today in F1000Research, Professor Kenneth Lee of the Chinese University of Hong Kong reveals the full experimental results of an attempt to replicate a controversial study published in Nature recently that suggested that bathing somatic cells in acid can reprogram them to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). With systematically collected and fully available data, Lee and his colleagues report that carefully replicating the original acid-treatment method does not induce pluripotency in two types of mouse somatic cells, including those used in the original study.

Immune Cells Found to Fuel Colon Cancer Stem Cells

(Medical Xpress) – A subset of immune cells directly target colon cancers, rather than the immune system, giving the cells the aggressive properties of cancer stem cells. So finds a new study that is an international collaboration among researchers from the United States, China and Poland. “If you want to control cancer stem cells through new therapies, then you need to understand what controls the cancer stem cells,” says senior study author Weiping Zou, M.D., Ph.D., Charles B. de Nancrede Professor of surgery, immunology and biology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

May 8, 2014

Study Urges Caution in Stem Cell Clinical Trials for Heart Attack Patients

(Medical Xpress) – A new study in Nature challenges research data that form the scientific basis of clinical trials in which heart attack patients are injected with stem cells to try and regenerate damaged heart tissue. Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), report May 7 that cardiac stem cells used in ongoing clinical trials – which express a protein marker called c-kit – do not regenerate contractile heart muscle cells at high enough rates to justify their use for treatment.

One Step Closer to Cell Reprogramming

(E! Science News) – Now, researchers at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona have taken a very important step towards understanding cell reprogramming and its efficiency: they have discovered the key role of the Wnt signalling pathway in transforming adult cells into iPS cells.

Scientists Develop Methods to Convert Non-Embryonic Stem Cells into Eye Cells

(News-Medical) – In two separate studies, scientists have developed methods to convert non-embryonic stem cells into eye cells that could be used to restore sight. The research is being presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) this week in Orlando. In the first method, researchers converted cells taken from the front of a patient’s eye into stem cells, which were then programmed to become nerve cells found in the back of the eye. The second study involved introducing stem cells to a single growth factor, which caused them to develop into tissue resembling the developing eye.

May 7, 2014

Accusations Pile Up Amid Japan’s Stem-Cell Controversy

(Nature) – Four of the six members of a Japanese committee that found misconduct in studies claiming to demonstrate a simple technique to produce stem cells are now facing allegations of irregularities in their own published work. The allegations complicate an already murky controversy over the technology, known as stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP).

Researchers Identify How Heart Stem Cells Orchestrate Regeneration

(Medical Xpress) – Investigators at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute – whose previous research showed that cardiac stem cell therapy reduces scarring and regenerates healthy tissue after a heart attack in humans – have identified components of those stem cells responsible for the beneficial effects. In a series of laboratory and lab animal studies, Heart Institute researchers found that exosomes, tiny membrane-enclosed “bubbles” involved in cell-to-cell communication, convey messages that reduce cell death, promote growth of new heart muscle cells and encourage the development of healthy blood vessels.

May 6, 2014

Doctors Perform Living Donor Stem Cell Transplants in Eye Patients

(Medical Xpress) – Debra Astrug, who once feared she was going blind, can see fine now, thanks to a stem cell transplant she received from her daughter, Jessica. The stem cells came from two pieces of tissue that Dr. Charles Bouchard of Loyola University Medical Center removed from the cornea of Jessica’s left eye. When Bouchard proposed the innovative procedure, she immediately agreed.

Mixing Stem Cells with Clay to Regenerate Human Tissue

(News-Medical) – Gels made from clay could provide an environment that would stimulate stem cells to regenerate damaged tissues such as bone, skin, heart, spinal cord, liver, pancreas and cornea. Researchers at the University of Southampton believe that clay particles’ ability to bind to biological molecules could be used to stimulate the stem cell regeneration process.

May 5, 2014

State Stem Cell Agency Hasn’t Lived Up to Its Hype

(San Francisco Gate) – The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine has funded more than 1,750 published discoveries related to stem cell research, created hundreds of millions of dollars worth of research space for scientists, and supported 10 projects that are in or have been in clinical trials. The agency, which was established in November 2004 when voters approved Proposition 71, just selected a new president, C. Randal Mills, the former president of Osiris Therapeutic, a stem cell research company (outgoing President Alan Trounson is returning to Australia).

A Transcription Factor Call SLUG Helps Determine Type of Breast Cancer

(Science Codex) – During breast-tissue development, a transcription factor called SLUG plays a role in regulating stem cell function and determines whether breast cells will mature into luminal or basal cells. Studying factors, such as SLUG, that regulate stem-cell activity and breast-cell identity are important for understanding how breast tumors arise and develop into different subtypes. Ultimately, this knowledge may help the development of novel therapies targeted to specific breast-tumor subtypes.


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