News & Commentaries

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Researchers Discover Key Stem Cell Dormancy Mechanism Which Could Help Unlock Future Cancer Treatments

Toronto, Canada – Princess Margaret Cancer Centre researchers have made new findings which provide a broader understanding of how dormant hematopoietic stem cells are activated and could pave the way towards therapeutic treatments for a number of cancers.

Sensing “Junk” RNA After Chemotherapy Enhances Blood Regeneration

Sensing “Junk” RNA After Chemotherapy Enhances Blood Regeneration
Hematopoietic stem cells take advantage of RNA from pathogenic remnants integrated in the genome to replenish the blood system

Freiburg, Germany – Chemotherapy kills cycling blood cells thus sending signals to hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the bone marrow to produce more differentiated blood cells. Scientists from the MPI of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg reveal that during hematopoietic regeneration, RNA expressed from a part of the genome considered as “junk DNA” is used by hematopoietic stem cells to get activated and proliferate. The study published in the scientific journal Nature Cell Biology shows that these so-called transposable elements make RNA after chemotherapy and activate an immune receptor which induces inflammatory signals enhancing hematopoietic stem cell cycling and thus participating in the regeneration of the hematopoietic system.

An Isoform of Dicer Protects Mammalian Stem Cells Against Multiple RNA Viruses

Stembook: Stem cells can use same method as plants and insects to protect against viruses

>London, UK – Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have found a vital mechanism, previously thought to have disappeared as mammals evolved, that helps protect mammalian stem cells from RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and Zika virus. The scientists suggest this could one day be exploited in the development of new antiviral treatments.

Blood Stem Cells Make Brain Tumors More Aggressive

Blood Stem Cells Make Brain Tumors More Aggressive

Essen, Germany – For the first time, scientists from the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) partner site in Essen/Düsseldorf have discovered stem cells of the hematopoietic system in glioblastomas, the most aggressive form of brain tumor. These hematopoietic stem cells promote division of the cancer cells and at the same time suppress the immune response against the tumor. This surprising discovery might open up new possibilities for developing more effective immunotherapies against these malignant brain tumors.

Salk Scientists Reveal How Brain Cells in Alzheimer’s Go Awry, Lose their Identity

Stembook: Salk Scientists Reveal How Brain Cells in Alzheimer’s Go Awry, Lose their Identity
New technique models brain cells in older patients more accurately than ever before

San Diego, CA, USA – Despite the prevalence of Alzheimer’s, there are still no treatments, in part because it has been challenging to study how the disease develops. Now, scientists at the Salk Institute have uncovered new insights into what goes awry during Alzheimer’s by growing neurons that resemble—more accurately than ever before—brain cells in older patients. And like patients themselves, the afflicted neurons appear to lose their cellular identity.

Recreating the Earliest Stages of Life

Stembook: Recreating the Earliest Stages of Life

San Francisco, CA, USA – In their effort to understand the very earliest stages of life and how they can go wrong, scientists are confronted with ethical issues surrounding the use of human embryos. The use of animal embryos is also subject to restrictions rooted in ethical considerations. To overcome these limitations, scientists have been trying to recreate early embryos using stem cells.

Researchers Unveil New 'Time Machine' Technique to Measure Cells

Stembook: Researchers Unveil New 'Time Machine' Technique to Measure Cells
Using a new single-cell technique, WEHI researchers have uncovered a way to understand the programming behind how stem cells make particular cell types.

Parkville, Australia – The research uncovered 30 new genes that program stem cells to make the dendritic cells that kick-start the immune response. By uncovering this process, the researchers hope they will be able to find new immunotherapy treatments for cancer, and plan to expand this technique in other areas such as discovering new drug targets in tumour initiation.