News & Commentaries

Improving Biomaterials Design for Bone Regeneration

Stembook: Improving biomaterials design for bone regeneration

Urbana, IL, USA – Bone injuries in the face and skull—known as craniomaxillofacial defects—can be caused by sports injuries, vehicle accidents, or battlefield injuries. Repairing such defects is complicated because different types of cells need to interact with each other. In a new study, researchers are investigating the types of material used in reconstruction to see which one works best.

Lab-Grown Beating Heart Cells Identify Potential Drug to Prevent COVID-19-Related Heart Damage

Cambridge, UK – Cambridge scientists have grown beating heart cells in the lab and shown how they are vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection. In a study published in Communications Biology, they used this system to show that an experimental peptide drug called DX600 can prevent the virus entering the heart cells.

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.