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What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? - HSC Radiation Sensitivity, Combined ALS Treatment, Bipotent Megakaryocytic‐Erythroid Progenitors, and Targeting CD133+ Cells!

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The Stem Cells Portal brings you a roundup of some of the new and exciting stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells, regenerative medicine, and beyond!

Mlh1 Null HSCs Are Not Sensitized to Radiation

Space travel will entail exposure of astronauts to a range of radiation insults that can negatively affect adult stem cell function. Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are highly susceptible to these insults and require functional DNA repair pathways for survival. A new study from the laboratories of Stanton L. Gerson (Case Western Reserve University, Ohio) and Scott M. Welford (University of Miami, Florida, USA) has studied the response of HSCs lacking expression of the Mlh1 protein mismatch repair protein to various forms of radiation. Interestingly, Patel et al. discovered that while cosmic radiation represents a significant risk to the hematopoietic system, there is no dependence on MMR capacity. See STEM CELLS Translational Medicine now for all the details.

Combined Stem Cell and Gene Therapy Treatment for ALS

A new study from the labs of Clive N. Svendsen and Gretchen M. Thomsen (Cedars‐Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA) recently sought to assess a new combination therapy to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The authors transplanted human cortical‐derived neural progenitor cells engineered to secrete glial cell line‐derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) into the cortex of a rat model of ALS, where the cells migrated, matured into astrocytes, and released GDNF. Encouragingly, these actions protected motor neurons, delayed disease pathology, and extended survival of the animals. For all the details on this exciting new combination therapy, head over to STEM CELLS now!

Bipotent Megakaryocytic‐Erythroid Progenitors: Concepts and Controversies

A recent review from Juliana Xavier‐Ferrucio and Diane S. Krause (Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA) focuses on recent advances in the identification and characterization of bipotent megakaryocytic‐erythroid progenitors (MEPs). These cells can produce platelets and red blood cells, and a full understanding of their in vivo derivation and fate decision choices represent critical areas for our understanding of normal blood development and processes underlying cancer. For all the recent studies and an excellent overview of the area, see STEM CELLS now!

Targeting CD133+ Cells in Cancer Therapy

The abrogation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) may provide a means to effectively treat many cancer types; however, we lack a means to specifically target CSCs. Now, a new study from the lab of Faris Farassati (Kansas City Veteran Affairs Medical Center, MO, USA) describes the first mutated version of herpes simplex virus‐1 (HSV‐1) that transcriptionally targets CD133+ cells, a marker for CSCs in many human cancers. Terai et al. demonstrate that treatment with this new virus resulted in a loss of viability and invasiveness of cancer cells and inhibited in vivo tumor growth in various mouse models. For all the fine print, see STEM CELLS 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!