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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.
Gene editing of hematopoietic stem cells can cure many hereditary and congenital diseases

Gene editing of hematopoietic stem cells can cure many hereditary and congenital diseases

Recent advances in gene editing technology, which allows for targeted repair of disease-causing mutations, can be applied to hematopoietic stem cells with the potential to cure a variety of hereditary and congenital diseases. [More]
Researchers receive grant to help develop stem cell therapy for glaucoma

Researchers receive grant to help develop stem cell therapy for glaucoma

Researchers from the University's Institute of Ageing and Chronic Disease have been awarded a pump-priming grant to help develop a stem cell therapy for glaucoma. [More]
CIRM approves $5.2 million for research on life-long treatment for rare childhood disease

CIRM approves $5.2 million for research on life-long treatment for rare childhood disease

Cystinosis is a rare disease that usually strikes children before they are two years old and can lead to end stage kidney failure before their tenth birthday. [More]
Duke, Wisconsin and UAB researchers create bioengineered patches to treat heart failure

Duke, Wisconsin and UAB researchers create bioengineered patches to treat heart failure

The heart cannot regenerate muscle tissue after a heart attack has killed part of the muscle wall, and that dead tissue can strain surrounding muscle, leading to a lethal heart enlargement. [More]
Three-dimensional heart patches may soon move closer to clinical application

Three-dimensional heart patches may soon move closer to clinical application

The promise of stem cells to treat cardiovascular disease may soon be a step closer to clinical application as scientists from three institutions seek to perfect and test three-dimensional "heart patches" in a large animal model — the last big hurdle before trials in human patients. [More]
New mobile health app may help manage hydroxyurea treatments in sickle cell patients

New mobile health app may help manage hydroxyurea treatments in sickle cell patients

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, has awarded a 6-year, $4.4 million grant to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and collaborators to improve the use of prescribed medication by sickle cell patients. [More]
Lund University stem cell researcher awarded Fernström prize for study on repairing damaged brain

Lund University stem cell researcher awarded Fernström prize for study on repairing damaged brain

Is it possible to convert a patient’s own skin cells into functioning nerve cells? Or insert healthy genes to reprogram the cells of a damaged brain? Stem cell researcher Malin Parmar at Lund University in Sweden is studying these types of issues, in close collaboration with clinical researchers. [More]
NIHR HSRIC experts identify innovative and promising treatments for corneal disorders

NIHR HSRIC experts identify innovative and promising treatments for corneal disorders

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Horizon Scanning Research and Intelligence Centre (HSRIC), working with Fight for Sight, has identified 130 new and emerging technologies and procedures for treating corneal disorders. [More]
De-bookmarking could be key to better reprogramming of fibroblasts into iPS cells

De-bookmarking could be key to better reprogramming of fibroblasts into iPS cells

In reading, a bookmark tells where you stopped. Cells use bookmarks too, specific proteins that help the cell remember what collection of genes needs to be turned on again after the brief halt of gene expression during cell division. [More]
Human pluripotent stem cells may revolutionize drug discovery in heart disease

Human pluripotent stem cells may revolutionize drug discovery in heart disease

Coaxing stem cells from patients to become heart cells may help clinicians personalize drug treatments and prevent heart-related toxicity. [More]
Enzyme deficiency in Krabbe's disease may point to new mechanisms underlying Parkinson's disease

Enzyme deficiency in Krabbe's disease may point to new mechanisms underlying Parkinson's disease

A new article suggests that an enzyme deficiency seen in the lysosomal storage disorder Krabbe's disease may point to new mechanisms underlying certain late-onset neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease. [More]
Study shows retinoic acid could prevent postsurgical lymphedema

Study shows retinoic acid could prevent postsurgical lymphedema

A study conducted at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California showed that 9-cis retinoic acid (alitretinoin) could significantly prevent postsurgical lymphedema. [More]
New study provides most comprehensive picture to date of head and neck cancer stem cells

New study provides most comprehensive picture to date of head and neck cancer stem cells

Cancer stem cells resist therapy and are a major cause of relapse, long after the bulk of a tumor has been killed. [More]
Real-time MRI guidance could help target and deliver stem cell therapies

Real-time MRI guidance could help target and deliver stem cell therapies

Working with animals, a team of scientists reports it has delivered stem cells to the brain with unprecedented precision by threading a catheter through an artery and infusing the cells under real-time MRI guidance. [More]
Stiff, hypoxic regions of tumors trigger cancer progression

Stiff, hypoxic regions of tumors trigger cancer progression

When Hippocrates first described cancer around 400 B.C., he referred to the disease's telltale tumors as "karkinos" -- the Greek word for crab. [More]
Researchers develop novel technique to generate hiNSCs for multiple tissue engineering applications

Researchers develop novel technique to generate hiNSCs for multiple tissue engineering applications

Tufts University researchers have discovered a new technique for generating rapidly-differentiating human neural stem cells for use in a variety of tissue engineering applications, including a three-dimensional model of the human brain, according to a paper published today in Stem Cell Reports [More]
Novel DNA-altering method could lead to more treatment options for diseases

Novel DNA-altering method could lead to more treatment options for diseases

Researchers in Singapore have developed a new protein that can alter DNA in living cells with much higher precision than current methods. [More]
Isolation of human NP cells may offer way to foster renal regeneration after chronic kidney failure

Isolation of human NP cells may offer way to foster renal regeneration after chronic kidney failure

In a first-of-its-kind look at human kidney development, researchers at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles have isolated human nephron progenitor (NP) cells. [More]
UTHealth receives DOD award to investigate stem cell therapy in adults with TBI

UTHealth receives DOD award to investigate stem cell therapy in adults with TBI

A research team led by Charles S. Cox, Jr., M.D., at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has been awarded $6.8 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to assess the safety and efficacy of using autologous stem cell therapy in adults with emergent traumatic brain injury. [More]
Scientists reveal underlying mechanisms leading to microcephaly in NBS patients

Scientists reveal underlying mechanisms leading to microcephaly in NBS patients

Scientists from Jerusalem and Duesseldorf have succeeded in generating induced pluripotent stem cells from a rare disorder called Nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS) and to push these cells to become early neurons, revealing the mechanisms leading to the neurological phenotype observed in these patients. [More]
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