News & Commentaries

How Invading Jumping Genes Are Thwarted

carnegie news

Baltimore, MD, USA – Since Carnegie Institution’s Barbara McClintock received her Nobel Prize on her discovery of jumping genes in 1983, we have learned that almost half of our DNA is made up of jumping genes – called transposons. Given their ability of jumping around the genome in developing sperm and egg cells, their invasion triggers DNA damage and mutations.

Twenty Years On, Measuring the Impact of Human Stem Cells

wisconsin news

Madison, WI, USA – In November 1998, the world was introduced to human embryonic stem cells, the blank slate cells that arise at the earliest stages of development and that go on to become any of the scores of cell types that make up a human. In a succinct paper published in the journal Science and heralded around the world, University of Wisconsin–Madison developmental biologist James Thomson described the first successful derivation and culturing of the master cells of life.

Stanford Researchers Develop Tiny Nanostraws to Deliver Molecules to Human Cells Safely and Efficiently

Nicholas Melosh

Stanford, CA, USA – Researchers can design the perfect molecule to edit a gene, treat cancer or guide the development of a stem cell, but none of that will matter in the end if they can’t get their molecule into the human cells they want to manipulate. The solution to that problem, described in a study published October 31 in Science Advances, could be minuscule nanostraws, tiny glass-like protrusions that poke equally tiny holes in cell walls to deliver their cargo.

Unique Type of Skeletal Stem Cells Found in ‘Resting Zone’ are Actually Hard at Work

u-mich news

Ann Arbor, MI, USA – Skeletal stem cells are valuable because it’s thought they can heal many types of bone injury, but they’re difficult to find because researchers don’t know exactly what they look like or where they live. Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) have identified a type of skeletal stem cell in the “resting zone” of the epiphyseal growth plate, which is a special cartilaginous tissue and an important driver for bone growth.

How Sleeping Mammary Stem Cells Are Awakened in Puberty

WEHI news

Melbourne, VIC, Australia – Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) researchers have discovered how the growth of milk-producing mammary glands is triggered during puberty. Sleeping stem cells in the mammary gland are awoken by a protein dubbed FoxP1, according to the research that was published today in the journal Developmental Cell.

Helping Blood Cells Regenerate After Radiation Therapy

MIT news

Cambridge, MA, USA – Method boosts differentiation of stem cells into mature blood cell types, may help leukemia and lymphoma patients. Patients with blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma are often treated by irradiating their bone marrow to destroy the diseased cells. After the treatment, patients are vulnerable to infection and fatigue until new blood cells grow back.

"Cellular Dust" Provides New Hope for Regenerative Medicine

CNRS news

Paris, France – While stem cells have the most therapeutic potential, the benefits of regenerative medicine may best be mobilised using extracellular vesicles (EVs), also known in the past as “cellular dust”. A team of researchers from CNRS, AP-HP, INSERM and Paris Descartes and Paris Diderot Universities have tested these vesicles for the first time in a porcine model for the treatment of post-operative digestive fistulas.

Tufts Scientists Grow Functioning Human Neural Networks in 3D from Stem Cells


Boston, MA, USA – A team of Tufts University-led researchers has developed three-dimensional (3D) human tissue culture models for the central nervous system that mimic structural and functional features of the brain and demonstrate neural activity sustained over a period of many months. With the ability to populate a 3D matrix of silk protein and collagen with cells from patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other conditions, the tissue models allow for the exploration of cell interactions, disease progression and response to treatment.