A research team from the University of Washington has discovered a stem cell signal in Gambel’s white-crown sparrows that may lead to new regenerative treatments for patient suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. The team found that, in preparation for an upcoming mating season, the sparrow’s brain cells release a chemical signal that activates the division of neural stem cells, which facilitate peak singing performance to attract mates. Continue reading
Scientists led by Dr. Craig Mello of The University of Massachusetts have developed a genetic tool – CRISPR [clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats] – to revolutionize the way stem cells are applied to treat genetic diseases, such as sickle cell or thalassemia. CRISPR aims to expedite and improve upon the process of translational genomics, in which the patient’s stem cells are extracted, altered to repair the damaged gene, and then transplanted back to the patient. Continue reading
Complex chemical polymers are currently being developed by scientists at Stanford University to protect and support the proliferation of stem cells during spinal cord transplantation procedures. The gels are designed to provide padding for the cells during injection, while also varying in viscosity and the biochemical signals contained within to offer stem cells an optimal environment for differentiation. Continue reading
As reported on the front page of the New York Times Science section, clinical applications of stem cell based therapies are accelerating at a rate that will revolutionize the medical field in a matter of years. In the United States alone, there are currently over 4000 therapies in clinical trials for the treatment of heart disease, blindness, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, H.I.V., and other diseases, injuries, and traumas. Continue reading
A research team from Aston University has developed a new method to investigate Alzheimer’s disease through the use of human stem cells. Through the study of tau proteins, this novel use of stem cells can help scientists predict with greater accuracy the effectiveness of different treatments to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading
Scientists in the US (UC, UCSD) and China (Wuhan) have found a way to convert stem cells into functional neurons. The researchers were able to suppress an RNA-binding protein, inducing the stem cells to become neurons. This gives hope for a treatment for neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease), which will afflict one in four Americans over their lifetime.
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disorder currently affecting 5 million people in the U.S. and 35 million across the globe. As the global population ages, the number of people affected is growing rapidly. November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month with the goal of raising awareness of a disease that touches almost everyone.
Researchers at Gutenberg University Mainz have found a way to generate human neurons from pericytes, cells found in the central nervous system, through the use of stem cells. The researchers have observed the process of differentiation that stem cells undergo when they become a new type of cell, and have induced stem cells to go through this process. Therefore, these cells have been directed to become new neuronal cells.
Dr. Peter Donovan, Dr. Hans Keirstead, Dr. Aileen Anderson, Dr. Brian Cummings, Dr. Frank LaFerla, Dr. Leslie M. Thompson, and Dr. Matthew Blurton-Jones of UC Irvine discuss the importance of stem cells and the current research taking place within their labs.