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What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – The Adaptive Mesenchymal Niche, iPSC-derived Retinal Organoids, Blind Mole Rat ASCs, and Splicing in Myeloid Malignancies!

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!

New Protocol Enables Kidney Disease Modeling for Potential New Therapies

Human stem cells are of great interest in the fields of regenerative medicine and research because they reproduce indefinitely and can differentiate into every other cell type found in the body. While stem cells naturally occur in very few places in the adult body, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) can be produced directly from adult cells, and offer the potential for a patient to one day have a limitless source of personalized cells to replace those lost to damage or disease.

A mature podocyte, colored purple.

Discovery of Gene That Controls Bone-To-Fat Ratio could lead to new Osteoporosis Treatments

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have found that a gene previously known to control human metabolism also controls the equilibrium of bone and fat in bone marrow as well as how an adult stem cell expresses its final cell type. The findings could lead to a better understanding of the disruption of bone-to-fat ratio in bone marrow as well as its health consequences, and also point to the gene as a promising therapeutic target in the treatment of osteoporosis and skeletal aging.

PGC-1α gene as a critical factor in maintaining bone-fat balance in the bone marrow.

Engineered cancer cells Can fight Primary and Metastatic Cancer

What if cancer cells could be re-engineered to turn against their own kind? A new study led by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Mass., leverages the power of gene editing to take a critical step toward using cancer cells to kill cancer.

The team reports promising results in preclinical models across multiple types of cancer cells, establishing a potential roadmap toward clinical translation for treating primary, recurrent and metastatic cancer. Results are published in Science Translational Medicine.

image, cancer cells (green) track primary cancer cells (red) in the brain

Turbulence is Good for the Blood

Blood flows through the body smoothly in order to transport its content throughout the body. In a new study published in Cell, scientists at Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) show that small levels of turbulence in the blood promotes the generation of platelets, the cells responsible for wound healing.

Using this new information, they report a bioreactor that produces more than 100 billion platelets from iPS cells, a number that can be used to treat patients.

Image of new bioreactor

What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? - MSC-derived Osteosarcomas, Stem Cell Licensing Renewal, 3D Retinal Tissue Generation, and iPSC Haplobanking!

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!

Muscle Stem Cells Derived From Tumors

Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School have developed a process to regenerate skeletal muscle cells in mice with muscular dystrophy. The unlikely source of those cells is a type of benign tumor called a teratoma.  

“The goal of this research was to seek in unexplored places a source of cells that, when transplanted, would rebuild skeletal muscle and demonstrate significant improvements in muscle strength and resilience,” said lead author Michael Kyba, Ph.D., professor in the Medical School’s Department of Pediatrics.

Stem Cell Therapy Drug May Protect Against Smoke-Related COPD Symptoms

A drug used in stem cell therapy to treat certain cancers may also protect against cigarette smoke-induced lung injury.

Plerixafor is a medication that stimulates the immune system to release more of a type of stem cell (hematopoietic progenitor cells, or HPCs) from the bone marrow into the bloodstream. The drug is used to treat some types of cancer that originate in the blood cells, including multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

New Method Developed for Turning Skin Cells into Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers have succeeded in converting skin cells into pluripotent stem cells by activating the cell's own genes. Up till now, reprogramming has only been possible by introducing the critical genes for the conversion, called Yamanaka factors, artificially into skin cells where they are not normally active at all.

The finding opens up new insights into the mechanisms controlling early embryonic gene activation. 

Stem Cells Restore Function in Primate Heart-Failure Study

Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle have successfully used human stem cells to restore heart function in monkeys with heart failure. The findings suggest that the technique will be effective in patients with heart failure, the leading cause of death in the world.


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