Copenhagen, Denmark – All cells in the body contain the same genetic material. The difference between cells therefore depends solely on which genes are expressed or ‘turned on’. Now, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have gained new insights into how genes are turned on and off and how the cells “forget their past” while developing into a specific cell in the body. This new knowledge is published in Nature and will be crucial for stem cell therapy and potentially treating people with cancer.
News & Commentaries
New York, NY, USA – Some of the most deadly skin cancers may start in stem cells that lend color to hair and originate in hair follicles rather than in skin layers, a new study finds.Hair follicles are complex organs that reside within skin layers. It is there that immature pigment-making cells develop cancer-causing genetic changes and – in a second step – are exposed to normal hair growth signals, say the study authors.
Zurich, Switzerland – Stem cells of the teeth can contribute to the regeneration of non-dental organs, namely mammary glands. According to a new study from researchers at the University of Zurich, dental epithelial stem cells from mice can generate mammary ducts and even milk-producing cells when transplanted into mammary glands. This could be used for post-surgery tissue regeneration in breast cancer patients.
Riverside, CA, USA – Neural crest cells, embryonic cells in vertebrates that travel throughout the body and generate many cell types – have been thought to originate in the ectoderm, the outermost of the three germ layers formed in the earliest stages of embryonic development
Leuven, Belgium – Immunologist Johan Van Weyenbergh (KU Leuven) and his Belgian-Brazilian colleagues have shown that a drug used to fight arthritis also stops the process that allows the tuberculosis bacillus to infect and hijack blood stem cells.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Huntington's disease (HD) is a fatal hereditary disease for which there is no cure. A novel study from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, USA, using pluripotent stem cells advances understanding of how the disease develops and may help pave the way for identifying pathways for future treatments. Results are published in the Journal of Huntington's Disease.
Tokyo, Japan – Pluripotent stem cells are specialized cells that can become almost any type of cell or tissue in the body. Because of this potential, they are often used in research to study disease. One way this is done is by coaxing stem cells to form organoids, which resemble organs but can be more easily studied in a laboratory. Researchers centered at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC) and Tokyo Medical and Dental University(TMDU) have devised a better way to make one particular organoid to aid in studies of the liver, bile duct and pancreas.
Sapporo, Japan – A compound effective in killing chemotherapy-resistant glioblastoma-initiating cells (GICs) has been identified, raising hopes of producing drugs capable of eradicating refractory tumors with low toxicity.
Houston, TX, USA – During embryonic development, the entire nervous system, the skin and the sensory organs emerge from a single sheet of cells known as the ectoderm. While there have been extensive studies of how this sheet forms all these derivatives, it hasn’t been possible to study the process in humans – until now.
La Jolla, CA, USA – Gene therapy has broadened the treatment possibilities for those with immune system deficiencies and blood-based conditions, such as sickle cell anemia and leukemia. These diseases, which once would require a bone marrow transplant, can now be successfully treated by modifying patients’ own blood stem cells to correct the underlying genetic problem.