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Long Term Survival of Photoreceptors Transplanted into the Adult Murine Retina Requires Immune Modulation

From this month’s edition of Stem Cells

By Carla Mellough

One of the limiting factors in the race to replenish ageing, damaged or dysfunctional cells by cell transplantation is the longevity of engrafted replacement cell types within host tissue. Results published in this month’s edition of Stem Cells from the laboratory of Prof. Robin Ali at University College London (UCL), indicate a means to overcome this limitation by modulating one of the most common observations following cell transplantation – the innate host immune reaction to grafted cells. The study is focused towards the replacement of the light sensitive photoreceptors that reside within the retina of the eye, a region considered to boast relative immune privilege. The degeneration of this cell type is a feature of numerous hereditary and age-related diseases and a leading cause of untreatable blindness worldwide.

Memory in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: Reprogrammed Human Retinal Pigmented Epithelial Cells Show Tendency for Spontaneous Redifferentiation

From this month’s edition of Stem Cells

By Carla Mellough

Elucidation of the best methods for somatic cell reprogramming which fully harness the stem cell-like capacity of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is key prior to the utilisation of iPSC for regenerative medicine purposes. The translation of iPSC therapy from the bench to the clinic has so far been slowed by limitations in the efficiency and safety of reprogramming protocols, alongside recent reports which indicate that although reprogrammed cells exhibit numerous properties of human embryonic stem cells (hESC), not all iPSC are fully reprogrammed and significant differences still remain, with many studies now linking the profile of iPSC to their cell of origin. Adding to this body of evidence, results published in the November issue of Stem Cells by Hu et al. From the University of California Santa Barbara, assess the retention of epigenetic imprints in iPSC generated from retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells and whether these iPSC have a propensity to redifferentiate back into RPE cells – their cell of origin.

Memory in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: Reprogrammed Human Retinal Pigmented Epithelial Cells Show Tendency for Spontaneous Redifferentiation

From this month’s edition of Stem Cells

By Carla Mellough

Elucidation of the best methods for somatic cell reprogramming which fully harness the stem cell-like capacity of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is key prior to the utilisation of iPSC for regenerative medicine purposes. The translation of iPSC therapy from the bench to the clinic has so far been slowed by limitations in the efficiency and safety of reprogramming protocols, alongside recent reports which indicate that although reprogrammed cells exhibit numerous properties of human embryonic stem cells (hESC), not all iPSC are fully reprogrammed and significant differences still remain, with many studies now linking the profile of iPSC to their cell of origin. Adding to this body of evidence, results published in the November issue of Stem Cells by Hu et al. From the University of California Santa Barbara, assess the retention of epigenetic imprints in iPSC generated from retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells and whether these iPSC have a propensity to redifferentiate back into RPE cells – their cell of origin.

‘Mir’ roles for miR-302 in cell cycle and tumorigenesis suppression

From Cancer Research

The microRNA miR-302 is implicated in the regulation of stemness and pluripotency, somatic cell reprogramming and more recently the global DNA demethylation and histone methylation which occurs during somatic cell reprogramming (see Splitting hairs: Follicking about with mir-302). Results from the same group in California now published in Cancer Research go on to reveal more about the action of this small, non-coding RNA – this time, its role in suppressing the human stem cell cycle and tumorigenicity.

‘Mir’ roles for miR-302 in cell cycle and tumorigenesis suppression

From Cancer Research

The microRNA miR-302 is implicated in the regulation of stemness and pluripotency, somatic cell reprogramming and more recently the global DNA demethylation and histone methylation which occurs during somatic cell reprogramming (see Splitting hairs: Follicking about with mir-302). Results from the same group in California now published in Cancer Research go on to reveal more about the action of this small, non-coding RNA – this time, its role in suppressing the human stem cell cycle and tumorigenicity.

STEM CELLS Journal Awards Human Cord-Blood Research

Dr. Cinzia Rota wins Annual Young Investigator Award at International Stem Cell Symposium

Durham, NC & Seoul, Korea, November 2010 - The journal STEM CELLS has announced Dr. Cinzia Rota as the winner of the annual STEM CELLS Young Investigator Award. Co-sponsored by the International Stem Cell Symposium, the $10,000 prize is annually given to a young scientist who is the principal author of a research paper published in STEM CELLS and judged to be most important by the Journal editors.

STEM CELLS Journal Awards Human Cord-Blood Research

Dr. Cinzia Rota wins Annual Young Investigator Award at International Stem Cell Symposium

Durham, NC & Seoul, Korea, November 2010 - The journal STEM CELLS has announced Dr. Cinzia Rota as the winner of the annual STEM CELLS Young Investigator Award. Co-sponsored by the International Stem Cell Symposium, the $10,000 prize is annually given to a young scientist who is the principal author of a research paper published in STEM CELLS and judged to be most important by the Journal editors.

Miniature livers grown in lab

From various news sources

“Liver disease kills more people in the UK than diabetes and road deaths combined, claiming more than 16,000 lives in 2008. It is the only cause of death that is still increasing year-on-year. Numbers of liver disease deaths have increased by 12% since 2005. Last year around 644 liver transplants from deceased donors were carried out in the UK. A total of 1,121 patients were on the liver transplant waiting list during 2007-08. Of these, 58% received transplants while 25% were still waiting for a new liver by the end of March 2008.” These statistics, quoted from the Daily Telegraph (UK) make for grim reading.

Miniature livers grown in lab

From various news sources

“Liver disease kills more people in the UK than diabetes and road deaths combined, claiming more than 16,000 lives in 2008. It is the only cause of death that is still increasing year-on-year. Numbers of liver disease deaths have increased by 12% since 2005. Last year around 644 liver transplants from deceased donors were carried out in the UK. A total of 1,121 patients were on the liver transplant waiting list during 2007-08. Of these, 58% received transplants while 25% were still waiting for a new liver by the end of March 2008.” These statistics, quoted from the Daily Telegraph (UK) make for grim reading.

Splitting hairs: Follicking about with mir-302

By Carla Mellough

Continuing on with our recent focus on microRNA (miRNA) and induced pluripotency (see ‘Reprogramming the methods that induce pluripotency’), a recent article published in the September advance issue of Nucleic Acids Research from David Wu’s group (WJWU and LYNN Institute for Stem Cell Research) in California may shed light on the mechanisms that govern somatic cell reprogramming. In this article Lin et al. uncover a regulatory mechanism that controls global DNA demethylation and histone methylation, a requirement for the reprogramming of somatic cells. Global demethylation is an event largely associated with early zygote development and is key for the establishment of stem cell pluripotency, but how cell stemness is reset in somatic cells during reprogramming is not yet clearly understood. Of the four Yamanaka factors, two (Oct3/4 and Sox2) are essential for reprogramming to occur and both of these were recently shown to be crucial for expression of the miRNA Mir-302. MiRNAs are a class of non-coding RNAs that suppress the translation of target messenger RNAs. Mir-302 expression, encoded for within a region of chromosome 4 that is associated with longevity, is high in both human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) with mir-302 downregulation accompanying cell differentiation>. This suggests a role for mir-302 in the regulation of stemness and pluripotency (alongside other stem cell-associated miRNAs) and therefore also the reversion of lineage restricted cells to a pluripotent state.

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