Berlin, Germany – Researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin have discovered a protective mechanism which is used by the body to protect intestinal stem cells from turning cancerous. The body’s innate immune system was found to play a pivotal role in this regard. The researchers were able to demonstrate that, rather than having a purely defensive role, the immune system is crucial in maintaining a healthy body. The study has been published in the renowned scientific journal Nature.
News & Commentaries
Ottawa, ON, Canada – Researchers at The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa have discovered a new way to treat the loss of muscle function caused by Duchenne muscular dystrophy in animal models of the disease. As reported in Cell Stem Cell, the team restored muscle stem cell function that is impaired in Duchenne muscular dystophy, resulting in efficient regeneration of the muscle and preventing the progressive loss of muscle strength characteristic of the disease.
Cambridge, UK – After the fertilisation of an egg cell, two become one; two sets of genetic information combine to form a genome. We can think of the egg and sperm as information capsules with stored instructions for starting a new life, but post fertilisation, what kick starts the interpretation of these instructions? Researchers at the Babraham Institute have provided further pieces of the puzzle by using a rare subset of mouse embryonic stem cells that provide a ‘lookalike’ system to the two cell embryo (zygote) occurring 24 hours post-fertilisation in pregnant mice.
Houston, TX, USA – One of the main obstacles to successfully treating breast cancer is the cells’ ability to change in ways that make them resistant to treatment. Understanding the cellular mechanisms that mediate this cancer cell plasticity may lead to improved treatments. Taking a step in that direction, a team led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine has discovered that breast cancer cells can shift between two forms of the cell surface molecule CD44, CD44s and CD44v.
Cardiff, UK – Cardiff University researchers have uncovered new information about the underlying mechanisms for gastric cancer, providing hope of potential new therapies in the future. The team, at the University’s European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute, found they could stop gastric cells dividing and growing by deleting a particular cell-surface receptor implicated in the function of stem cells.
Edinburgh, UK – Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service carried out a clinical trial using stem cells from donors to create tissue that was transplanted into patients with a condition that causes blindness. This is the first time that stem cells have been used in this way in a randomised clinical trial.
New York, NY, USA – Researchers from the National Institutes of Health have discovered that antibodies that may form the basis of a universal flu vaccine inhibit a second viral protein in addition to the one that they bind. The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, reveals that antibodies that recognize the viral surface protein hemagglutinin can also inhibit the viral neuraminidase, and that this enhances antibody neutralization of the virus and the activation of innate immune cells with anti-viral activity.
Indianopolis, IN, USA – Biologists at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), growing human pluripotent stem cell-derived retinal ganglion cells in the lab, have developed a way to create more-mature models that better mimic the environment in the human retina. By introducing hPSC-RGCs to astrocytes, researchers can create cells that are more analogous to human RGCs and can be further used to study diseases such as glaucoma. These results are published online in Stem Cell Reports.
Los Angeles, CA, USA – A study by UCLA researchers is the first to demonstrate a technique for coaxing pluripotent stem cells — which can give rise to every cell type in the body and which can be grown indefinitely in the lab — into becoming mature T cells capable of killing tumor cells. The technique uses structures called artificial thymic organoids, which work by mimicking the environment of the thymus, the organ in which T cells develop from blood stem cells.
Washington, MO, USA – Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have tweaked the recipe for coaxing human stem cells into insulin-secreting beta cells and shown that the resulting cells are more responsive to fluctuating glucose levels in the blood. Here, the new beta cells appear red as they secrete insulin in response to glucose.