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Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell.

Stem cells are distinguished from other cell types by two important characteristics. First, they are unspecialized cells capable of renewing themselves through cell division, sometimes after long periods of inactivity. Second, under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, they can be induced to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with special functions. In some organs, such as the gut and bone marrow, stem cells regularly divide to repair and replace worn out or damaged tissues. In other organs, however, such as the pancreas and the heart, stem cells only divide under special conditions.
Balancing cellular aging and cancer risk through biotechnology

Balancing cellular aging and cancer risk through biotechnology

In a way, trying to repair age-related heart damage and trying to fight cancer are opposite problems. Your heart cells' ability to regenerate themselves and proliferate into new, young cells degrades as you get older. [More]
Bioenergetic analysis of pancreatic beta-cells shows impaired metabolic signature in type 2 diabetes patients

Bioenergetic analysis of pancreatic beta-cells shows impaired metabolic signature in type 2 diabetes patients

Impaired activation of mitochondrial energy metabolism in the presence of glucose has been demonstrated in pancreatic beta-cells from patients with type 2 diabetes. The cause of this dysfunction has been unknown. Publishing online in Endocrinology, Buck Institute assistant research professor Akos Gerencser, PhD, shows that in patients with type 2 diabetes the balance between supply and demand of the mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔψM) is altered causing a decrease in the signaling that turns on insulin secretion. [More]
Protecting gastrointestinal system during radiation or chemotherapy allows patients to tolerate cancer treatments

Protecting gastrointestinal system during radiation or chemotherapy allows patients to tolerate cancer treatments

The stem cells in our gut divide so fast that they create a completely new population of epithelial cells every week. But this quick division is also why radiation and chemotherapy wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal systems of cancer patients - such therapies target rapidly dividing cells. [More]
Researchers establish safety, dosing of new drug for treating blood cancers

Researchers establish safety, dosing of new drug for treating blood cancers

Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have established the safety and dosing of a new drug for treating blood cancers. The findings are published online July 27 in The Lancet Haematology. [More]
Recipients of GSA poster awards announced at 20th International C. elegans Meeting

Recipients of GSA poster awards announced at 20th International C. elegans Meeting

The Genetics Society of America and the C. elegans research community are pleased to announce the recipients of the GSA poster awards at the 20th International C. elegans Meeting, which took place at the University of California, Los Angeles, June 24-28, 2015. [More]
Study provides new insights into mechanism that controls differences in gut's ability to fight infections

Study provides new insights into mechanism that controls differences in gut's ability to fight infections

Considering how many microorganisms we ingest each day, our gut has an extensive and well-developed immune system. This defense is involved in acute and chronic gut diseases, but it varies dramatically among people. A persistent question is how our genetic make-up affects our gut's ability to fight infections. EPFL scientists have found that gut immunity is not affected by single genes but by entire groups of genes. [More]
Researchers use silk fibers to grow stem cells into salivary gland cells

Researchers use silk fibers to grow stem cells into salivary gland cells

The silkworm, which produces the essential ingredient for fine silk fabric, also plays a critical role in a new process designed to provide relief for millions of individuals with dry mouth, a devastating oral and systemic health issue. [More]
New technology enhances investigations of epigenomes

New technology enhances investigations of epigenomes

A new technology that will dramatically enhance investigations of epigenomes, the machinery that turns on and off genes and a very prominent field of study in diseases such as stem cell differentiation, inflammation and cancer, is reported on today in the research journal Nature Methods. [More]
Low-dose lithium lowers involuntary motor movements in mouse model of Parkinson's disease

Low-dose lithium lowers involuntary motor movements in mouse model of Parkinson's disease

Low-dose lithium reduced involuntary motor movements - the troubling side effect of the medication most commonly used to treat Parkinson's disease (PD) - in a mouse model of the condition that is diagnosed in about 60,000 Americans each year. The third in a series of studies from the Andersen lab involving PD and low-dose lithium, the results add to mounting evidence that low-doses of the psychotropic drug could benefit patients suffering from the incurable, degenerative condition. [More]
UMass Amherst toxicologist hopes US regulatory agency may acknowledge hormesis hypothesis soon

UMass Amherst toxicologist hopes US regulatory agency may acknowledge hormesis hypothesis soon

When environmental toxicologist Edward Calabrese in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst heard recently that the U.S. National Regulatory Commission has opened a new docket on proposed rule changes and standards for radiation protection, he felt it as "a vindication of my 30-year career, in many ways." [More]
Researchers discover first fully synthetic substrate with potential to grow billions of stem cells

Researchers discover first fully synthetic substrate with potential to grow billions of stem cells

If you experience a major heart attack the damage could cost you around five billion heart cells. Future stem cell treatments will require this number and more to ensure those cells are replaced and improve your chances of survival. [More]
Novartis announces FDA approval of Odomzo (sonidegib) 200 mg capsules for treatment of laBCC patients

Novartis announces FDA approval of Odomzo (sonidegib) 200 mg capsules for treatment of laBCC patients

Novartis today announced the US Food and Drug Administration has approved Odomzo (sonidegib, formerly LDE225) 200 mg capsules for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma (laBCC) that has recurred following surgery or radiation therapy, or those who are not candidates for surgery or radiation therapy. [More]

Steroid-refractory chronic GVHD trial results ‘overestimate’ treatment efficacy

Trial results for patients with steroid-refractory chronic graft versus host have overestimated the efficacies of treatments, suggests a meta-analysis published in The Lancet Haematology. [More]
Rare BCR-ABL fusions highlighted in CML

Rare BCR-ABL fusions highlighted in CML

Chronic myeloid leukaemia patients with rare BCR-ABL fusions may be missed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction, research suggests. [More]
York scientists identify how some micro-RNAs can make prostate cancers resistant to radiotherapy

York scientists identify how some micro-RNAs can make prostate cancers resistant to radiotherapy

Scientists at the University of York believe they have identified how some tiny regulatory molecules in cells can make prostate cancers resistant to radiotherapy. [More]
New study reveals protein's critical role in development and progression of AML

New study reveals protein's critical role in development and progression of AML

A new study by researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine reveals a protein's critical - and previously unknown -- role in the development and progression of acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a fast-growing and extremely difficult-to-treat blood cancer. [More]
Researchers find way to reverse clotting factor deficiency that triggers hemophilia A

Researchers find way to reverse clotting factor deficiency that triggers hemophilia A

Sufferers of hemophilia live in a perpetual state of stress and anxiety: their joints wear down prematurely and they have bleeding episodes that feel like they will never end. Their bodies lack the ability to make the clotting factor responsible for the coagulation of blood so any cut or bruise can turn into an emergency without immediate treatment. [More]
Stem cell transplantation improves outcomes in children with rare form of chronic blood cancer

Stem cell transplantation improves outcomes in children with rare form of chronic blood cancer

Researchers in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation at Children's Hospital Los Angeles have shown greatly improved outcomes in using stem cell transplantation to treat patients with a serious but very rare form of chronic blood cancer called juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). [More]
Omeros' OMS721 granted FDA Fast Track designation for treatment of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome

Omeros' OMS721 granted FDA Fast Track designation for treatment of atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome

Omeros Corporation today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Fast Track designation to OMS721 for the treatment of patients with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS). OMS721 is the company's lead human monoclonal antibody targeting mannan-binding lectin-associated serine protease-2 (MASP-2), the key regulator of the lectin pathway of the immune system. [More]
Researchers use gene-editing technique involving low-dose irradiation to repair human stem cells

Researchers use gene-editing technique involving low-dose irradiation to repair human stem cells

For the first time, researchers have employed a gene-editing technique involving low-dose irradiation to repair patient cells, according to a study published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine. This method, developed by researchers in the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, is 10 times more effective than techniques currently in use. [More]
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