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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.
WideCells, University of Westminster partner to offer short online courses on stem cell storage and treatment

WideCells, University of Westminster partner to offer short online courses on stem cell storage and treatment

WideCells Group PLC, the healthcare services company focused on collecting and storing stem cells and providing ground breaking insurance for stem cell treatment, is pleased to announce that its R&D and training development division, WideAcademy, has finalised its syllabus of short courses focused on educating healthcare professionals on the benefits of stem cell storage and treatment. [More]
Researchers uncover key factor for promoting wound healing after corneal injuries

Researchers uncover key factor for promoting wound healing after corneal injuries

In cases of severe ocular trauma involving the cornea, wound healing occurs following intervention, but at the cost of opaque scar tissue formation and damaged vision. Recent research has shown that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) — which can differentiate into a variety of cells, including bone, cartilage, muscle and fat cells — are capable of returning clarity to scarred corneas; however, the mechanisms by which this happens remained a mystery — until now. [More]
Department of Defense funds cardiac cell therapy trial for heart failure patients

Department of Defense funds cardiac cell therapy trial for heart failure patients

Building on the results of a recent Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute study published just six months ago, the Department of Defense has awarded a $10 million grant to fund a cardiac cell therapy trial for patients diagnosed with a common but difficult-to-treat form of heart failure. [More]
Researchers link RHOX gene mutations to infertility in men

Researchers link RHOX gene mutations to infertility in men

The underlying cause of male infertility is unknown for 30 percent of cases. In a pair of new studies, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine determined that the reproductive homeobox (RHOX) family of transcription factors — regulatory proteins that activate some genes and inactivate others — drive the development of stem cells in the testes in mice. [More]
Research shows degenerative diseases affecting the retina may be treatable with gene therapy

Research shows degenerative diseases affecting the retina may be treatable with gene therapy

Researchers have demonstrated the ability to deliver a fully functional copy of the CLN3 gene to stem cells of patients with juvenile NCL, an inherited neurodegenerative disease in which a mutation in the CLN3 gene causes early-onset severe central vision loss. [More]
Study suggests calorie-restricted diet can protect mice from abdominal aortic aneurysms

Study suggests calorie-restricted diet can protect mice from abdominal aortic aneurysms

Mice placed on a low-calorie diet are less likely to develop abdominal aortic aneurysms, according to a new study in The Journal of Experimental Medicine. [More]
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]
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