London, UK – Telomeres are specialised structures at the end of chromosomes which protect our DNA and ensure healthy division of cells. According to a new study from researchers at the Francis Crick Institute published in Nature, the mechanisms of telomere protection are surprisingly unique in stem cells.
News & Commentaries
San Diego, CA, USA – Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have created a drug that can lure stem cells to damaged tissue and improve treatment efficacy- a scientific first and a major advance for the field of regenerative medicine. The discovery, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), could improve current stem cell therapies designed to treat neurological disorders such as spinal cord injury, stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative disorders; and expand their use to new conditions, such as heart disease or arthritis.
Cambridge, MA, USA – Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a serious infection that affects nearly 50 percent of Americans aged 30 years and older. If left unchecked, periodontal disease can destroy the jawbone and lead to tooth loss. The disease is also associated with higher risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Montréal, Canada – In a world first, a young man suffering from severe aplastic anemia who could not be helped by standard treatments has been given a life-saving blood transplant with the made-in-Canada UM171 molecule.
Birmingham, AL, USA – Science has long known that recovery from experimental heart attacks is improved by injection of a mixture of heart muscle cells, endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells, yet results have been limited by poor engraftment and retention, and researchers worry about potential tumorigenesis and heart arrhythmia.
Cologne, Germany – A team of researchers from Cologne and Helsinki has discovered a mechanism that prevents hair loss: hair follicle stem cells, essential for hair to regrow, can prolong their life by switching their metabolic state in response to low oxygen concentration in the tissue. The team was led by Associate Professor Sara Wickström (University of Helsinki and Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Ageing) and the dermatologist Professor Sabine Eming (University of Cologne), and included researchers from the University of Cologne’s Cluster of Excellence in Aging Research CECAD, the Max Planck Institute for the Biology of Ageing, Collaborative Research Centre 829 ‘Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Skin Homeostasis’, the Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC) (all in Cologne), and the University of Helsinki. The paper ‘Glutamine Metabolism Controls Stem Cell Fate Reversibility and Long-Term Maintenance in the Hair Follicle’ has been published in Cell Metabolism.
London, UK – The first stages of placental development take place days before the embryo starts to form in human pregnancies. The finding highlights the importance of healthy placental development in pregnancy, and could lead to future improvements in fertility treatments such as IVF, and a better understanding of placental-related diseases in pregnancy.
Stockholm, Sweden – New knowledge on the cellular makeup and growth of teeth can expedite developments in regenerative dentistry – a biological therapy for damaged teeth – as well as the treatment of tooth sensitivity. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, is published in Nature Communications.
Cincinnati, OH, USA – Scientists at Cincinnati Children's used human intestinal organoids grown from stem cells to discover how our bodies control the absorption of nutrients from the food we eat. They further found that one hormone might be able to reverse a congenital disorder in babies who cannot adequately absorb nutrients and need intravenous feeding to survive.
London, UK – Why do pregnancies last longer in some species than others? Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute have found the clock that sets the speed of embryonic development and discovered the mechanism is based on how proteins are made and dismantled. The study, published in Science, could also help us understand how different mammals evolved from one another and help refine methods for regenerative medicine.