News & Commentaries

Backbone of Success

STEMBOOK: Backbone of Success
Researchers achieve first stem cell models of human spine development

Boston, MA, USA – More than 20 years ago, the lab of developmental biologist Olivier Pourquié discovered a sort of cellular clock in chicken embryos where each “tick” stimulates the formation of a structure called a somite that ultimately becomes a vertebra.

Plant-Derived SVC112 Hits Cancer Stem Cells, Leaves Healthy Cells Alone

STEMBOOK: Tin Tin Su, PhD, and colleagues show promise of new drug SVC112 against cancer stem cells (Credit: Paul Muhlrad)

Aurora, CO, USA – The red, tube-shaped flowers of the firecracker bush (Bouvardia ternifolia), native to Mexico and the American Southwest, attract hummingbirds. The bush also provides the chemical bouvardin, which the lab of University of Colorado Cancer Center and CU Boulder researcher, Tin Tin Su, PhD, and others have shown to slow a cancer’s ability to make proteins that tell cancer cells to grow and spread. Now a paper based on nearly half a decade of work, published in the journal Cancer Research, shows that the molecule SVC112, based on bouvardin and synthesized by Su’s Colorado-based pharmaceutical startup, SuviCa, Inc. acts specifically against head and neck cancer stem cells (CSCs), resulting in better tumor control with less toxicity to healthy cells than existing, FDA-approved protein synthesis inhibitors. The group hopes these promising preclinical results will lay the groundwork for human clinical trials of SVC112 in head and neck cancer patients.

Mouse Pups Born From Eggs Derived From The Granulosa Cells That Surround Oocytes

STEMBOOK: Mouse Pups Born From Eggs Derived From The Granulosa Cells That Surround Oocytes

Nankai District, China – By introducing a chemical cocktail to granulosa cells, researchers in China induced the cells to transform into functional oocytes in mice. Once fertilized, these oocytes were then successfully able to produce healthy offspring, showing no differences from naturally bred mice. The chemical reprogramming method appears December 24 in the journal Cell Reports.

Mouse Pups Born From Eggs Derived From The Granulosa Cells That Surround Oocytes

STEMBOOK: Mouse Pups Born From Eggs Derived From The Granulosa Cells That Surround Oocytes

Nankai District, China – By introducing a chemical cocktail to granulosa cells, researchers in China induced the cells to transform into functional oocytes in mice. Once fertilized, these oocytes were then successfully able to produce healthy offspring, showing no differences from naturally bred mice. The chemical reprogramming method appears December 24 in the journal Cell Reports.

Strong Change of Course for Muscle Research

STEMBOOK: Strong change of course for muscle research
Scientists have discovered a new subtype of muscle stem cells. These cells have the ability to build and regenerate new muscles, making them interesting targets for the development of gene therapies.

Berlin, Germany – Anyone who climbs the 285 steps to the viewing platform of Berlin’s Siegessäule, or Victory Column, will probably have quite a few sore muscles the next day. Out-of-the-ordinary activities such as climbing lots of steps or even normal exercise can put significant strain on muscles. Such activities cause tiny tears in the muscle fibers, which the body then repairs on its own.

Immune Outposts Inside Kidney Tumors Predict Post-Surgery Outcomes

STEMBOOK: Immune Outposts Inside Kidney Tumors Predict Post-Surgery Outcomes
Arizona, GA, USA – The immune system establishes “forward operating bases”, or lymph node-like structures, inside the tumors of some patients with kidney and other urologic cancers, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered.

The immune system establishes “forward operating bases”, or lymph node-like structures, inside the tumors of some patients with kidney and other urologic cancers, researchers at Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University have discovered.

Lymphatic System Found To Play Key Role In Hair Regeneration

STEMBOOK: Lymphatic System Found To Play Key Role In Hair Regeneration

New York, NY, USA – Given the amount of wear and tear it’s subjected to on a daily basis, the skin has a phenomenal ability to replenish itself. Spread throughout it are small reservoirs of stem cells, nested within supportive microenvironments called niches, which keep a tight rein on this repair process. Too much tissue might cause problems like cancer, while too little might accelerate aging.

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