Brain Model Created from Stem Cells.

Researchers from Tufts University utilize stem cells to create a 3-D model of the brain that replicates neurological function.

As reported in a recent article in the New York Times, bioengineers from Tufts University have created a 3-D model of the brain that, utilizing stem cell-derived neurons, the model can mimic the brain’s response to traumatic injury. Principle Investigator Dr. David Kaplan tested the model by dropping weights on it, resulting in a complete neuronal response, including the transmission of electrical impulses and chemical signals through the neurons. Continue reading

Stem Cell Differentiation Regulated by Molecular Competition.

Scientists at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research have identified a mechanism between two proteins, Bam and COP9, which controls the transition of adult stem cell function from self-renewal to differentiation into other tissues.  The researchers, led by Dr. Ting Xie, report that while COP9 promotes stem cell self-renewal,  Bam inhibits a critical subunit of COP9, causing the cell to switch its function. Continue reading

Acute Stroke Treatment Utilizing the Patient’s Own Stem Cells

Autologous stem cell therapy has shown significant signs of recovery in acute stroke patients.

In a pilot study conducted by the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, five patients received transplants of their own [autologous] stem cells directly into their brains only seven days after a severe stroke. Although the trial was designed primarily to assess the safety of such a procedure, the patients showed significant signs of recovery considering the typical lethality of the strokes. Continue reading

Improving the Efficacy of Hematopoietic Stem Cells.

The protein SIRT1 maintains the regenerative abilities of hematopoietic stem cells.

A research team from Mount Sinai, Harvard Medical School, and Children’s Hospital in Boston has determined the function of protein Sirtuin1 (SIRT1) in maintaining the regenerative ability of blood stem cells.  The researchers found that young stem cells lacking SIRT1 exhibited a similar deficiency in rejuvenating blood as observed in older stem cells.  These older, defunct blood stem cells are unable to refresh the body’s blood supply, resulting in vulnerability to age-related cancers and immune diseases. Continue reading

Stem Cells Immune to Damage from Leukemia Chemotherapy

Certain stem cells have been found to be immune to the bone-degenerative side effects of chemotherapy used against leukemia.

A research team, led by Dr. Eric Darling of Brown University, has found a potential source of stem cells to protect children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia against the adverse effects of the chemotherapy drug methotrexate (MTX).  Adipose-derived stem cells, which appear to be impervious to the bone-degenerative side effects of MTX, may allow children to undergo the chemotherapy treatment and then regain the lost bone tissue afterwards. Continue reading

Anti-Aging Properties of MSCs

Mesenchymal Stem Cells are able to stimulate muscle-building cells that lose function with age.

A recently published study by University of Illinois Kinesiology and Community Health Professor Marni Boppart has identified mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] as a tool for rejuvenating muscle to prevent age-related injuries and disabilities.  In addition to their ability to differentiate into other cell types, MSCs were found to secrete growth factors that stimulate the activation of the multiple cell types comprising skeletal muscle, including muscle precursor cells and satellite cells, which lose function with age. Continue reading