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Highlights of current exciting developments, ranging from research papers to court decisions to industry regulations

June 27, 2017

A roundup of some the new and exciting stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells, regenerative medicine, and beyond brought to you by the Stem Cells Portal!

Past Buzz

June 23,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – TEC and hPSCs, Hemodynamic Vascular Cell induction, Ex vivo-generated Erythrocytes, and MSC Treatment for Felines!

A roundup of some the new and exciting stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells, regenerative medicine, and beyond brought to you by the Stem Cells Portal

TEC- and FGF2-mediated Control of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells

A recent study from the labs of Petr Dvořák and Michaela Bosáková (Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic) has described the role of the TEC kinase (tyrosine kinase expressed in hepatocellular carcinoma) in human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) self-renewal and differentiation. Vanova et al. describe how TEC mediates FGF2 secretion to boost hPSC self-renewal, while a lack of TEC promotes differentiation into the neuroectodermal lineage and inhibits the development of cardiac mesoderm. See STEM CELLS now for all the fine print!

Hemodynamic Exposure Induces Vascular Cell Phenotypes

Vascular endothelial (iECs) and smooth muscle cells (iSMCs) derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) often display signs of immaturity, making them less suitable for therapeutic application. To counteract this lack of adequate development, the lab of Brian R. Wamhoff (HemoShear Therapeutics, LLC, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA) asked whether hemodynamic exposure could help to mature iECs and iSMCs. In their new STEM CELLS Translational Medicine study, the team now demonstrate that hemodynamic exposure facilitated the maturation of iPSC-derived cells and permitted a high degree of similarity to primary cells in their responses to pathological stimuli associated with vascular diseases.

Ex vivo-generated Erythrocytes from Cord Blood – The Blood Source of the Future?

The ex vivo generation of red blood cells (or erythrocytes) from various cellular sources may represent an exciting means to generate large amounts of blood for transfusion purposes. The lab of Yongping Jiang (Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College) recently assessed erythrocyte production from cord blood (CB) CD34+ cells employing a bottle turning device culture system. Their new STEM CELLS Translational Medicine study suggests that 5 million CD34+ cells may produce enough erythrocytes for 500 blood transfusion units, while xenotransfusion studies in non-human primates with hemorrhagic anemia confirmed the safety and efficiency of this approach!

 

MSC Treatment for Feline Oral Mucosal Inflammatory Disease

While the immunomodulatory functions of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have made them an exciting treatment options for immune-mediated inflammatory disorders in humans, the team of Boaz Arzi (UC Davis, USA) also hope to apply these useful cells in our furry feline friends! In detail, Arzi et al. assessed the ability of fresh allogeneic adipose-derived MSCs (ASCs) to treat the chronic oral mucosal inflammatory disease feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FCGS). For all the details on their successful findings, head over to STEM CELLS Translational Medicine now.

That’s a wrap for now! Please feel free to leave a comment and discuss the papers covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz. Happy reading!

June 19,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – New TNBC Model, Aberrant Stem Cell Divisions, First-in-Man Stem Cell Trial, and Revascularization with UCBs!

 

A roundup of some the new and exciting stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells, regenerative medicine, and beyond brought to you by the Stem Cells Portal

New TNBC Model Used to Delineate Cancer-Specific Signaling and Functions

Researchers from the lab of Henrik J. Ditzel (University of Southern Denmark) recently set out to discover how to target breast cancer stem cells (CSCs) by comparing two different sets of isogenic cells (one tumor initiating and one non-tumor initiating) derived from a triple-negative breast cancer cell line. Interestingly, this new STEM CELLS study indicates that cells that initiate tumors down-regulate their apoptotic pathway and display differential NF-κB and Wnt/β-catenin signaling. Can further analyses of these pathways provide druggable targets?

Aberrant Stem Cell Division found in Psoriasis

Taking their influence from cancer studies, researchers from the lab of Ruby Ghadially (UCSF, USA) have recently reported on their studies into the dysregulation of asymmetric stem cell divisions (ACDs) and symmetric cell divisions (SCDs) in the benign hyperproliferation of psoriasis. Their new STEM CELLS study suggests that IL7A, a target for inhibition for the treatment of psoriasis, increased asymmetric stem cell divisions associated with psoriasis. The authors note that this study highlights an important link between the immune system and skin proliferation.

First-in-Man Stem Cell Trial for Articular Cartilage Repair

Trophic support for regeneration by mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) represents an important concept in many regenerative therapies. The lab of Daniel B.F. Saris (University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands) sought to harness this supporting role in a recent trial aimed at articular cartilage repair in a one-stage cell transplantation. The results of this trial, published in STEM CELLS, suggest that this strategy is safe and efficacious and supports a role for MSCs as a stimulator of our body’s inherent reparative/regenerative powers.

AD-Overexpressing UCB Cells Boost Revascularization

Motivate by the scarcity of therapeutically relevant cells, researchers from the lab of David A. Hess (Western University, Ontario, Canada) sought to ex vivo expand umbilical cord blood (UCB) progenitor cells with high aldehyde dehydrogenase (AD) activity for the treatment of ischemic tissue-related disease. Their recent STEM CELLS Translational Medicine study describes just how Putman et al. achieved 18-fold expansion under defined, serum-free conditions without diminishing vascular regenerative functions. Wow!

That’s a wrap for now! Please feel free to leave a comment and discuss the papers covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz. Happy reading!

June 15,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – Hippo and Muscle Stem Cells, MSC Treatment of Neurodegeneration, Boosting Bone Repair, and Teratoma Treatment with EBRT!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

How Hippo Handles Skeletal Muscle Stem Cells

The Hippo pathway members Yap and Taz control cell proliferation and regeneration, and the lab of Peter Zammit (King's College London, UK) recently sought to decipher their role in skeletal muscle stem cells. Sun et al. now demonstrate that both Taz and Yap promote myoblast proliferation, but following this, Taz switches roles and promotes myogenic differentiation. For all the interesting details, click your way to STEM CELLS now!

Reviewing MSC Treatment of Neurodegeneration

The many positive characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has made them a focal point for many cell-based therapies for a broad range of diseases and disorders. A new concise review from Rotem Volkman and Daniel Offen (Rabin Medical Center, Israel) now summarizes current developments in MSCs-based therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, the duo “examine the roles of central mechanisms suggested to mediate the beneficial effects of MSCs-based therapy and consider the augmentation of these mechanisms for superior clinical outcomes in rodent models of neurodegeneration as well as in clinical trials.” See STEM CELLS for a fascinating read!

Stem Cell Construct Boosts Natural Bone Repair Process

Endochondral ossification represents the body's natural bone repair process, and a recent study from the lab of Eben Alsberg (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA) sought to boost this process employing human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells embedded with bioactive microparticles. Their new STEM CELLS Translational Medicine article delineates how MSCs under the influence of TGF-β1 and BMP-2 enhanced healing of critical-sized calvarial bone defects within four weeks. Good news!

Treating Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Teratomas with EBRT

While the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) to a milieu of therapeutically useful cell types holds great potential, there still exists a risk of differentiation resistant PSCs forming teratomas in patients. A recent study from Patricia K. Nguyen and Joseph C. Wu (Stanford University, California, USA) assessed the application of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) to treat any tumors that way occur. In STEM CELLS, Lee et al. now suggest that this strategy can successfully eliminate teratoma and can be applied to reduce the reseeding potential of teratoma cells during serial transplantation experiments, and thereby increase the safety of stem cell-based therapies.

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

June 11,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? - Hhex-mediated Hematopoietic Regulation, MSC-mediated Neuroprotection, YY1 and CPCs, and Treating MPS1 with Liver-Directed hAECs!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Hhex-mediated Hematopoietic Regulation via Cdkn2a

Recent studies from the lab of Matthew P. McCormack (Monash University, Australia) have analyzed the requirement for the hematopoietically expressed homeobox transcription factor (Hhex) gene in hematopoiesis. Now, their new study demonstrates that hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) require Hhex to repress the Cdkn2a locus, which encodes the p16Ink4a and p19Arf tumor suppressors, to self-renew and respond to hematopoietic stress. See STEM CELLS now for all the details.

How MSCs mediate Neuroprotection in Parkinsonian Models

A new study from the lab of Phil Hyu Lee (Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea) describes how mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) play a neuroprotective role in cell and animal models of Parkinsons Disease. Specifically, Oh et al. established that MSCs increase microtubule‐dependent axonal trafficking by inhibiting α‐synuclein‐induced tau phosphorylation and, therefore, suggest that pharmacological modulators of microtubule assembly or axonal transport may represent new therapeutic strategies. Head over to STEM CELLS now to read all the fine print.

All CPCs need is YY1!

The development of cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) into cardiomyocytes requires the precise regulation of gene expression by various interacting factors. The lab of Sean M. Wu (Stanford University School of Medicine, CA, USA) now reveals that overexpression of the YY1 transcription factor promotes proliferation but inhibits differentiation of CPCs via the modulation of the chromatin environment of the promoter of specific genes. Which genes? Head over to STEM CELLS to find out!

Treating MPS1 with Liver-Directed hAECs

Treatment options for the lysosomal storage disorder Mucopolysaccharidosis type 1 (MPS1) currently offer improved life expectancy, but often have no benefits for skeletal and neurological phenotypes. A new therapeutic option, from the lab of Toshio Miki (University of Southern California, USA), comprises the transplantation of human amniotic epithelial cells (hAECs) into the liver to replace the enzyme missing in this disorder (α-l-iduronidase). Encouragingly, this treatment opportunity improved skeletal and neurological phenotypes and, therefore, may represent an exciting option for human patients. See STEM CELLS Translational Medicine for all the details.

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

June 6,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – IP6K1 and MSC Osteogenesis, Promoting Ground State Pluripotency, Assessing Tracheal Replacement, and Categorizing PSC-derived Cardiomyocytes!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Regulating MSC Osteogenesis via IP6K1

Boosting the bone forming potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) may provide a means to counteract age-related decreases in osteogenesis and increases in adipogenesis. A new study from the lab of Donald G. Phinney (Scripps Research Institute, Florida, USA) has now discovered that deletion of the inositol hexakisphosphate kinase 1 (Ip6k1) gene enhances MSC growth and survival ex vivo and promotes osteogenesis and hematopoiesis-supporting activity in mice. The authors note that Ip6k1 inhibition represents a potentially safer strategy compared to other therapeutic interventions (such as targeting PPARG and LEPR activity), which can increase fracture risk and alter feeding behavior. See STEM CELLS for all the details!

Disrupting Interactions Promotes Ground State Pluripotency

In their new article, the lab of Ramanuj DasGupta (A*STAR, Singapore) has uncovered a new means to promote ground state pluripotency. Saj et al. describe how the disruption of β-catenin-TCF interactions via the small molecule iCRT3 can synergize with MEK inhibition to promote long‐term, stable culture of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) and promote the attainment of the pluripotent ground state. See STEM CELLS now for all the fine print!

Tracheal Replacement via a Stem Cell-Seeded Graft

An interesting new report from Martin Birchall (University College London, UK) has recently described the compassionate use of a stem-cell-seeded, decellularized tissue engineered tracheal graft in a patient after conventional reconstructive techniques failed. The authors note that “the case involved application of full good manufacturing practice standards to create a manufactured advanced medical product for transplantation.” See all the details in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine.

Categorizing PSC-derived Cardiomyocytes

A new review article from the lab of Cesare M.N. Terracciano (Imperial College London, UK) discusses the general requirement for chamber specific cardiomyocytes derived from pluripotent stem cells (PSC-CMs) and the current techniques employed to make cell-cell comparisons. Furthermore, the review proposes “an evidence-based tool to aid investigators in the phenotypic characterization of differentiated PSC-CMs.” Sounds like a great read! Head on over to STEM CELLS now to see for yourself!

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

May 24,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – Immunomodulation by iPSC-MSCs, PRMT8-Control of hESCs, iPSCs and Mitochondrial Disease, and MSC Self-protection!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Studying Immune Modulation of MSCs-derived from iPSCs

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) represent an alternative source of immunomodulatory cells for the treatment of a wide range of disorders. In a recent STEM CELLS article, the labs of Qing-Ling Fu (Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou) and Zhongquan Qi (Xiamen University, Fujian, PR China) assessed how iPSC-MSCs affected T cell phenotypes in a mouse model. Li et al. report that secreted factors from iPSC-MSCs inhibit the cleavage of caspases, which then suppressed T cell responses, decreased Th1 and Th2 frequency, and increased CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. An absorbing study and a novel immunomodulatory mechanism!

How PRMT8 Regulates Pluripotency and Mesodermal Differentiation in hESCs

A new STEM CELLS study from the lab of Sung-Hwan Moon (Konkuk University) and Hyuk-Jin Cha (Sogang University, Seoul, South Korea) report the importance of Protein arginine methyltransferases 8 (PRMT8) in the pluripotency and mesodermal differentiation of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Jeong et al. suggest that membrane‐localized PRMT8 favors AKT activation via an interaction with PI3K and Sox2 expression under bFGF stimuli. The team also go on to shows that this pathway contributed to both the maintenance of pluripotency and mesodermal differentiation.

Reviewing the role of iPSCs in Mitochondrial Disease Drug Discovery

A new review article from the lab of Alessandro Prigione (Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), Berlin, Germany) discusses the use of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in drug discovery for mitochondrial disease. The article discusses “the promises and challenges of iPSC-based drug discovery for mitochondrial disease with a specific focus on neurological conditions” and the authors anticipate that “a proper use of the potent iPSC technology will provide critical support for the development of innovative therapies against these untreatable and detrimental disorders”. Get over to STEM CELLS now to read all the fine print.

Young MSCs Protect Themselves Better!

Extended times in culture may negatively affect the therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The labs of Shih-Chieh Hung (China Medical University Hospital) and Wei-Ming Chen (Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan, Republic of China) sought to assess how time in culture affected the DNA damage responses (DDR) of MSCs in response to irradiation. Their new study now suggests that early-passage MSCs protect themselves better than late-passage MSCs and they go on to link this enhanced protection to poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1), ATM and their downstream signals. See STEM CELLS Translational Medicine for all the details.

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

May 19,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – ASC-Promoted Tumorigenesis, Skull Repair with ASCs, Reviewing Wharton's Jelly Mesenchymal Stromal Cells, and BM-MSC Trial for Aplastic Anemia!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

How ASCs Promote Tumorigenesis

While breast reconstruction following tumor-related mastectomy often exploits the regenerative properties of adipose stem cells (ASCs), this stem cell type may also foster tumorigenesis through unknown mechanisms. In a new STEM CELLS article, researchers from the lab of Hongxin Deng (Sichuan University, P.R. China) discovered that the expression of CXCL1 and CXCL8 by human ASCs enhanced breast cancer angiogenesis. Has this new study uncovered a potentially druggable target for the treatment of breast cancer?

Long-term Results of ASC-mediated Skull Repair

Researchers from the lab of Tuomo Thesleff (Tampere University Hospital, Finland) have recently reported on the long-term follow-up of patients with skull injuries treated with autologous adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) seeded on beta-tricalcium phosphate (betaTCP) granules. Their new STEM CELLS Translational Medicine study reported promising early results, although the 6-year follow-up in 5 patients found that conventional cranial repair methods and ASC-based treatment functioned to a similar degree. Therefore, the authors aim to reevaluate this strategy before moving forward.

Reviewing Wharton's Jelly Mesenchymal Stromal Cells

Many pre-clinical and clinical studies have assessed Wharton's Jelly mesenchymal stromal cells (WJ-MSCs) from the human umbilical cord as a possible therapeutically advantageous cell type. However, as noted by John E. Davies (University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada), “several aspects of this cell population have been under-appreciated”. This new review article proposes “a cord nomenclature-based robustly on anatomical/histological structure and developmental origins, within the context of providing a foundation for not only the much-needed methodological transparency in reporting of both basic and clinical studies, but also providing guidelines for the family banking sector”. See STEM CELLS Translational Medicine now for all the details.

Trialing Allogenic BM-MSCs for the Treatment of Aplastic Anemia

A new STEM CELLS Translational Medicine article from the lab of Yang Xiao (Hainan Cancer Hospital, PR China) reports the results of a phase II, non-comparative, multicenter study to assess the efficacy and safety of allogeneic bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (BM-MSCs) expanded in vitro for patients with aplastic anemia (AA) refractory to immunosuppressive therapy. Encouragingly, the authors report allogeneic BM-MSCs infusion to be feasible and effective. Great news!

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

May 15,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? - Assessing Anti-tumor NSCs, Semaphorin 3A and Muscle Commitment, EPCR and Epidermal Stem Cells, and Adiponectin Control of Hematopoietic Regeneration!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Assessing the Migration and Distribution of Anti-tumor Engineered NSCs

In the hope of enhancing the development and refinement of neural stem cell (NSC)-based anti-tumor therapies, the lab of Michael E. Barish (Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, California, USA) has recently completed a study on NSC migration and tumor coverage. Their STEM CELLS study employed a quantitative analysis of immunostained serially sectioned formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) brain tissue to provide a framework to assess the mechanisms that promote and limit this NSC-based anti-tumor strategy.

Semaphorin 3A Commits to Slow Muscle Fiber Fate

Previous studies from the lab of Ryuichi Tatsumi (Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan) uncovered the expression of semaphorin 3A (Sema3A) in myogenic stem satellite cells in response to muscle injury. Their new STEM CELLS study now indicates that Sema3A commits stem cell differentiation to a slow muscle fiber fate during muscle regeneration. The authors hope that this finding will contribute to  the treatment of muscle-related diseases and even food security through meat‐animal production.

EPCR Marks the Spot for Epidermal Stem Cells

A new study from the lab of Meilang Xue (University of Sydney, South Wales, Australia) aspired to study the potential for Endothelial protein C receptor (EPCR) in the isolation of cells for the treatment of serious epithelial defects. Excitingly, Xue et al have now discovered that EPCR regulates p63, a stem cell marker, marks highly proliferative keratinocytes, and may aid in the isolation of human epidermal stem cells. See STEM CELLS now for all the cogent details on EPCR!

Hematopoietic Regeneration via Adiponectin and mTORC1

Finally this week, a study from Mineo Kurokawa (University of Tokyo, Japan) assessed how changes in the bone marrow (BM) following injury modulate hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) biology. The team’s new STEM CELLS study indicates that BM injury and the associated massive expansion of BM adipocytes leads to the release of adiponectin. This adipocyte-derived anti‐diabetic hormone then activates the HSC cell cycle to promote the replacement of lost hematopoietic cells. A great new study and intriguing new link!

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

May 11,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – CD36 and Adipogenic Potential, Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency iPSCs, BM-EPCs and Pulmonary Hypertension, and CECs for AMD Treatment!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

CD36-positive hADSCs: Full of Potential?

A recent study from the laboratories of Mikael Rydén (Karolinska University, Stockholm, Sweden) and Anne Bouloumié (INSERM and Université de Toulouse, France) aimed to discover a means to identify human adipose-derived stromal cells (hADSCs) with pronounced adipogenic/triglyceride storage ability. Their STEM CELLS study now demonstrates that the scavenger receptor CD36 marks “enhanced” hADSCs and the authors hope these findings “may pave the way for the development of better fat cell systems to allow mechanistic insights as well as improving our understanding of the link between adipogenesis and metabolic phenotype.”

iPSC Model of Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency

Mutations in the genes responsible for coenzyme Q10 biosynthesis (COQ genes) lead to a heterogeneous mitochondrial disorder with no clear genotype-phenotype association. To gain a better appreciation of this condition, researchers from the lab of Pablo Menendez (University of Barcelona, Spain) generated human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from a human patient harboring a heterozygous mutation in COQ4. Their new study, described in STEM CELLS, demonstrates that “the COQ4 mutation faithfully reproduces skeletal muscle dysfunction and metabolic deficits with no neurological involvement”. The authors hope that these iPSCs may improve our knowledge on coenzyme Q10 deficiency and permit drug screening.

Linking BM-EPCs and Pulmonary Hypertension

A new STEM CELLS Translational Medicine study from the lab of Jason M. Aliotta (Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA) aimed to understand the role of bone marrow-derived endothelial progenitor cells (BM-EPCs) in modulating pulmonary hypertensive responses. Employing a mouse model, the team report that extracellular vesicles (EVs) released from pulmonary vascular endothelial cells convert BM-EPCs into pathologic progenitors to induce pulmonary vascular remodeling. A cool new study with an intriguing new connection between the bone marrow and pulmonary vasculature!

Generating iPSC-derived CECs for AMD Treatment

Studies have suggested that choroidal endothelial cells (CECs) of the vasculature bed located behind the retina are the first cells lost during the development of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD causes irreversible blindness and many labs are pursuing cell replacement therapies based on pluripotent stem cell differentiation. Now, the lab of Budd A. Tucker (University of Iowa, USA) describes a new means to differentiate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) into CEC-like cells in the hope of applying them in a cell replacement strategy. See STEM CELLS Translational Medicine now for all the details.

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

May 8,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – ERG and Hematopoiesis, BRE and MSC Differentiation, Medicinal Signaling Cells, and Cell Combination for Diabetes!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Deciphering a Role for ERG in Hematopoiesis

A recent study from the laboratory of Zhe Li (Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA) aimed to decipher a role for ETS family transcription factor ERG in hematopoiesis at the stem and progenitor cell level. In their new STEM CELLS study, the team now demonstrate that ERG controls survival of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) mediated by the activation of Jun and the repression of Bcl2l11.

Promoting Osteoblastic MSC Differentiation with BRE

Studies had suggested the possible involvement of BRE (or Brain And Reproductive Organ-Expressed, to give its full name) in stem cell differentiation; however, pathophysiological significance and its molecular mechanisms remained unclear. Now, a study from a team of Chinese and Japanese researchers has demonstrated that BRE mediates the osteoblastic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) via the regulation of Mdm2-mediated p53 ubiquitination and degradation. Head over to STEM CELLS now, to find out how targeting BRE-p53 interactions may represent an effective strategy for the treatment of bone diseases.

MSCs - Medicinal Signaling Cells?

A recent Perspective article from Arnold I. Caplan (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA) has called for mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to change their name! He suggests that MSCs should now be known as “Medicinal Signaling Cells” in order to “more accurately reflect the fact that these cells home in on sites of injury or disease and secrete bioactive factors that are immunomodulatory and trophic (regenerative) meaning that these cells make therapeutic drugs in situ that are medicinal”. See STEM CELLS Translational Medicine now for a fascinating read!

Cell Combination Controls Autoimmune Diabetes

Researchers from the laboratory of Christof Westenfelder (George E. Wahlen VA Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, USA) have recently described an exciting new cell combination for the treatment of autoimmune Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). The new advance employs the intraperitoneal administration of “neo-Islets” generated by coaggregation of allogeneic, culture-expanded islet cells with immuno- and cyto-protective mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Excitingly, this strategy permits long-term glycemic control without the need for immunosuppression; see all the details at STEM CELLS Translational Medicine.

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!