Studying Mother Nature to Advance Stem Cell Therapies.

Researchers are currently studying the genomes of other animals for new insights into our own stem cell processes.

Researchers led by Professor Christian Peterson from Northwestern University have discovered a gene in flatworm planarians that activates their stem cells to replace lost tissue after an injury.  The gene, called zic-1, allows the stem cells to create completely new organs and body parts, such as the regeneration of a head after decapitation. Continue reading

Sickle Cell Disease Treated with Stem Cells

Patients with sickle cell anemia have utilized stem cells from their siblings to treat the disease.

Researchers led by Matthew Hsieh of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have reversed sickle cell disease in adults by utilizing stem cells from the patients’ siblings.  The patients received a transplant that combined their own stem cells with those of a sibling, resulting in an increase in lung function and a decrease in the patients’ sickle cell count, as well as their dependency on immunosuppressant and pain relieving drugs. Continue reading

Harnessing the Power of Stem Cells

Scientists have developed a method for increasing the survival rate, and therefore the effectiveness, of transplanted mesenchymal stem cells.

A team of scientists from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and the Boston Children’s Hospital have developed a method to increase the survival rate, and therefore the effectiveness, of transplanted mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs]. In an animal model, Dr. Juan Melero-Martin and his team of researchers co-transplanted MSCs with blood vessel-forming cells, enabling the stem cells to survive longer in a patient to reach their full regenerative potential.

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Retinal Tissue Created from Stem Cells.

Scientists have created light-sensitive retinal tissue from human stem cells.

A team of researchers from John Hopkins University of Medicine have developed miniature human retinal tissue in vitro with the ability to detect light. The scientists, led by Assistant Professor M. Valena Canto-Soler, constructed a 3D model of the retinal tissue containing photoreceptor stem cells that form light sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. Continue reading

Growing Teeth with Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Scientists are using mesenchymal stem cells to grow new organs in vivo.

Researchers at the Wyss Institute and Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a self-shrinking gel that, when loaded with mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs], stimulates their ability to differentiate into teeth, bones, and organs in vivo [in the patient’s body]. The gel is designed to spontaneously compress at 37°C [the temperature of the human body], which places the physical pressure required to trigger the stem cells’ proliferative properties while inside the patient’s body. Continue reading

Heat Stroke Treatment Utilizes Dental Pulp Stem Cells

Scientists have treated heat-induced brain damage with stem cells.

A team of researchers at the Kaohsiung Medical University School of Dentistry have found that intravenous transplantation of dental pulp stem cells can protect against brain damage in heat stroke patients.  Utilizing an animal model, scientists administered the treatment immediately post-heat stroke and observed several therapeutic effects, including a decrease in neurological damage, inflammation, and oxidative stress to the brain. Continue reading