Aurora, CO, USA – A massive research effort over more than a quarter century has tried to make personalized blood stem cells for use in treating leukemias, among many other uses. One way researchers have gone about this is to sample a patient’s adult cells and then “deprogram” them to create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which are capable of forming any of the body’s cell types, including blood cells. Unfortunately, these iPSCs also have the potential to become cancer. So researchers have largely refocused their efforts on making hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which can’t make any cell type, but can produce many types of blood cells. The good news is that HSCs don’t seem to cause cancer like iPCs. The bad news is that researchers have been unable to create HSCs that can take hold and grow in the body.
News & Commentaries
Washington, DC, USA – A stem cell transplant – also called a bone marrow transplant – is a common treatment for blood cancers, such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Such treatment can cure blood cancers but also can lead to life-threatening complications, including heart problems and graft-versus-host disease, in which new immune cells from the donor attack a patient’s healthy tissues.
Washington, DC, USA –Specifically programmed materials can, under specific conditions, encourage stem cells to transform into bone cells – as revealed by a German research team under the leadership of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre for Materials and Coastal Research. To do this, the scientists implemented a so-called shape-memory polymer in stem cell research. The study was published today in the renowned journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
Boston, MA, USA – Boston researchers have developed a new way to generate groups of intestinal cells that can be used, among others, to make disease models in the lab to test treatments for diseases affecting the gastrointestinal system. Using human induced pluripotent stem cells, this novel approach combined a variety of techniques that enabled the development of three-dimensional groups of intestinal cells called organoids in vitro, which can expand disease treatment testing in the lab using human cells.
Salt Lake City, UT, USA – In the first-ever genome-scale analysis of the puberty process in humans, researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah (U of U) outline distinct and critical changes to stem cells in males during adolescence. They further outline how testosterone, and the cells that produce testosterone, impact stem cells in male reproductive organs. The researchers believe this study adds dramatically to a foundation of knowledge that may yield insights into critical areas of human health, including infertility and cellular changes that lead to cancer and other diseases.
Melbourne, Australia – A Melbourne research team has reproduced and visualised the earliest developmental steps in human immune cell production in the laboratory and are now set to advance our understanding of childhood diseases like leukemia and autoimmune conditions.
Warwick, UK – A drug designed to tackle diabetes could also be repurposed as the first treatment to prevent miscarriage by targeting the lining of the womb itself, according to a clinical trial led by the University of Warwick.
Dresden, Germany – We all will experience it at some point, unfortunately: The older we get the more our brains will find it difficult to learn and remember new things. What the reasons underlying these impairments are is yet unclear but scientists at the Center for Regenerative Therapies of TU Dresden (CRTD) wanted to investigate if increasing the number of stem cells in the brain would help in recovering cognitive functions, such as learning and memory, that are lost during ageing.
Dresden, Germany – The zebrafish is a master of regeneration: If brain cells are lost due to injury or disease, it can simply reproduce them - contrary to humans where this only happens in the fetal stage. However, the zebrafish is evolutionarily related to humans and, thus, possesses the same brain cell types as humans. Can a hidden regeneration potential also be activated in humans? Are therapies for stroke, craniocerebral trauma and presently incurable diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's possible?
Boston, MA, USA – More than 20 years ago, the lab of developmental biologist Olivier Pourquié discovered a sort of cellular clock in chicken embryos where each “tick” stimulates the formation of a structure called a somite that ultimately becomes a vertebra.