Dusseldorf, Germany – The use of primary mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) is fraught with ageing-related shortfalls such as limited expansion and early senescence. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) – derived MSCs (iMSCs) – have been shown to be a useful clinically relevant source of MSCs that circumvent these ageing-associated drawbacks. The importance of this concept is manifested by the successful Phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of GvHD by Cynata Therapeutics and the National Health Service- UK; a Phase 2 trial is planned for 2019. (Note: This trial is independent of the work carried out by Spitzhorn et al. described in this release.)
News & Commentaries
Amsterdam, NL – Since 1993, when the gene that causes Huntington's disease (HD) was identified, there has been intense focus on understanding how this genetic mutation causes the disease's severe progressive neural deterioration. In a new study published in the Journal of Huntington's Disease, investigators have discovered that the HD mutation may alter the interactions of Huntingtin, the large protein produced by the HD gene, with Rac1, a protein that directs changes in cell shape.
Copenhagen, Denmark – In the veins, stem cells constantly mature and develop into different blood cells that are necessary for the body to work properly. Now researchers from the University of Copenhagen and EMBL in Heidelberg have discovered exactly how a specific mutation in the stem cells in the blood can obstruct this maturation process.
San Diego, CA, USA – For some cancers, initial treatment with chemotherapy brings positive, but only temporary, results: tumors shrink, but then rebound as the cancer becomes drug-resistant. This pattern of remission-resistance-relapse is particularly true for pancreatic cancer, an aggressive disease in which early success is often countered by eventual disease progression.
Ann Arbor, MI, USA – Leukemia treatments often leave girls infertile, but a procedure developed by researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) working with mice is a step toward restoring their ability to be biological mothers.
Newcastle-up-Tyne, UK – New research led by scientists at Newcastle University, UK reveals a potential revolutionary way to treat eye injuries and prevent blindness - by softening the tissue hosting the stem cells which then helps repair wounds, inside the body. The team discovered that the simple application of a tissue-softening enzyme, collagenase, prevents the loss of corneal stem cells following an injury and could prevent patients from losing their sight. It offers hope to almost 500,000 people a year who lose their sight due to chemical burns including acid attacks.
Tampa, FL, USA – Transplantation of human bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) into mice mimicking symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) helped more motor neurons survive and slowed disease progression by repairing damage to the blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB), University of South Florida researchers report.
Bethesda, MA, USA – A new study led by scientists in the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) sheds light on one way tumors may continue to grow despite the presence of cancer-killing immune cells. The findings, published in Science, suggest a way to enhance the effectiveness of immunotherapies for cancer treatment. NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.
Boston, MA, USA – A team of researchers at Tufts University School of Medicine developed a method to grow and maintain olfactory stem cells in culture, which can then be used to restore tissue in the nose. The discovery raises hope that future therapies could be developed to restore the sense of smell in individuals where it has been damaged by injury or degeneration.
Boston, MA, USA – Researchers at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center and the University of Massachusetts Medical School have developed a strategy to treat two of the most common inherited blood diseases – sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia – applying CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing to patients' own blood stem cells. Described this week in Nature Medicine and in a January report in the journal Blood, their approach overcomes prior technical challenges, editing blood stem cells more efficiently than in the past.