Kobe, Japan – Our hair, skin and eyes are colored by a pigment called melanin, which is produced by pigment cells called melanocytes. Scientists have used stem cell technology to successfully create melanocyte precursor cells. These cells can be used in research on melanoma and other pigment cell-related illnesses. The findings were published on March 6 in the online edition of Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research.
News & Commentaries
Amsterdam, NL – StemJournal, a new open access, peer-reviewed journal published by IOS Press, announces publication of its inaugural article, "Combining Stem Cells and Biomaterial Scaffolds for Constructing Tissues and Cell Delivery" by Stephanie M. Willerth, PhD, and Shelly E. Sakiyama-Elbert, PhD. This timely overview of the available biomaterials for directing stem cell differentiation as a means of producing replacements for diseased or damaged tissues is a comprehensive update of the classic review published in StemBook in 2008.
Monash, Australia – Embryonic stem cells (ESC) have the ability to self-renew, and, being pluripotent have the potential to create almost any cell type in the body. The embryonic stem cell state is established and maintained by multiple regulatory networks that include epigenetic regulators; the function of these epigenetic regulators though has not been well-defined.
La Jolla, CA, USA – Lying within our muscles are stem cells, invisible engines that drive the tissue’s growth and repair. Understanding the signal(s) that direct muscle stem cells to spring into action could uncover new ways to promote muscle growth. However, these mechanisms are poorly understood.
Toronto, Canada – Glioblastoma is one of the most devastating forms of cancer, with few existing treatment options. It is also a leading cause of cancer-related death in children and young adults. Scientists have "reverse engineered" brain cancer stem cells gene by gene, uncovering multiple potential targets for this hard-to-treat cancer.
Kinazawa, Japan – Researchers from Kanazawa University and the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development have solved the decades-old mystery of how stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori causes gastric cancer. Using mouse models and human cancer cell lines, they showed that inflammation resulting from bacterial infection leads to the proliferation of gastric epithelial cells, which ultimately form gastric tumors. By blocking the protein pathway responsible for this proliferation, they prevented gastric tumor formation.
Hamilton, ON, Canada – A team of McMaster researchers has discovered a unique subset of cells within human stem cells that appear to signal how the surrounding cells will develop and grow. The discovery of these "kingpin" cells, named human pluripotent founder cells, along with the process of identifying the cells, is expected to open a new channel of research aimed at better understanding the growth of cancerous tumours and how human stem cells make decisions on what to become or not become. The study was published in Cell.
Cincinnati, OH, USA – Cell-by-cell genetic analyses of developing brain tissues in neonatal mice and laboratory models of brain cancer allowed scientists to discover a molecular driver of the highly aggressive, deadly, and treatment-resistant brain cancer, glioblastoma
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.)
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.