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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.
Musashi-2 protein regulates function, development of blood stem cells

Musashi-2 protein regulates function, development of blood stem cells

Researchers at McMaster University's Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute have made significant steps forward in understanding the stem cells of the human blood system after discovering how a key protein allows for better control and regeneration of these cells. [More]
Study reveals surprising results that may impair future therapeutic approaches in TGF-beta pathway

Study reveals surprising results that may impair future therapeutic approaches in TGF-beta pathway

Researchers at Helmholtz Zentrum München describe how breast cancer cells challenged with a small-molecule inhibitor targeting specific invasive properties switch to an alternative mode-of-action, rendering them even more aggressive. The results may impair future therapeutic approaches in the TGF-beta pathway and are published in the journal 'Oncotarget'. [More]
Clinical study to evaluate safety of investigational cell therapy to treat chronic motor deficits after stroke

Clinical study to evaluate safety of investigational cell therapy to treat chronic motor deficits after stroke

University Hospitals Case Medical Center is the first surgical site for a Phase 2b clinical trial study to further evaluate the safety and efficacy of an investigational cell therapy for the treatment of chronic motor deficit following an ischemic stroke. [More]
Rapamycin drug could target neural damage linked to Leigh syndrome

Rapamycin drug could target neural damage linked to Leigh syndrome

Salk Institute scientists showed how an FDA-approved drug boosts the health of brain cells by limiting their energy use. Like removing unnecessary lighting from a financially strapped household to save on electricity bills, the drug--called rapamycin--prolongs the survival of diseased neurons by forcing them to reduce protein production to conserve cellular energy. [More]
Series of routine tests may not be beneficial to patients with age-related disorder

Series of routine tests may not be beneficial to patients with age-related disorder

A series of tests physicians routinely order to help diagnose and follow their patients with an elevated antibody level that is a marker for cancer risk, often do not benefit the patient but do increase health care costs, pathologists report. [More]
Salk scientists reveal how cellular fuel gauge plays unexpected role in development

Salk scientists reveal how cellular fuel gauge plays unexpected role in development

Salk scientists have revealed how a cellular "fuel gauge" responsible for monitoring and managing cells' energy processes also has an unexpected role in development. This critical link could help researchers better understand cancer and diabetes pathways. [More]
TKCI outlines plan to curb corneal blindness worldwide by 2030

TKCI outlines plan to curb corneal blindness worldwide by 2030

The Tej Kohli Cornea Institute in partnership with the world-renowned LV Prasad Eye Institute, has today laid out its plan to control corneal blindness, globally, by 2030. [More]
Lab-grown mini-brains shed light on health crisis posed by Zika virus in fetal brains

Lab-grown mini-brains shed light on health crisis posed by Zika virus in fetal brains

Studying a new type of pinhead-size, lab-grown brain made with technology first suggested by three high school students, Johns Hopkins researchers have confirmed a key way in which Zika virus causes microcephaly and other damage in fetal brains: by infecting specialized stem cells that build its outer layer, the cortex. [More]
Differences in timing of stem cells turning into cartilage play major role in shaping the face

Differences in timing of stem cells turning into cartilage play major role in shaping the face

Timing is everything when it comes to the development of the vertebrate face. In a new study published in PLoS Genetics, USC Stem Cell researcher Lindsey Barske from the laboratory of Gage Crump and her colleagues identify the roles of key molecular signals that control this critical timing. [More]
First breakthrough in gene therapy against aging

First breakthrough in gene therapy against aging

In September 2015, then 44 year-old CEO of BioViva USA Inc. Elizabeth Parrish received two of her own company's experimental gene therapies: one to protect against loss of muscle mass with age, another to battle stem cell depletion responsible for diverse age-related diseases and infirmities. [More]
Under-expressed miR-9 gene may contribute to schizophrenia risk

Under-expressed miR-9 gene may contribute to schizophrenia risk

By turning skin cells into brain neurons, researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have identified that certain tiny molecules aiding in gene expression, known as microRNAs (miRNAs), are under-expressed in the brains of the 14 schizophrenia patients they studied. Their findings, published online today in the journal Cell Reports, show that one of these molecules, a miRNA known as miR-9, is a risk factor that controls the activity of hundreds of genes. [More]
Targeted therapy for triple-negative breast cancer may prove beneficial

Targeted therapy for triple-negative breast cancer may prove beneficial

A targeted therapy for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), the most aggressive form of breast cancer, has shown potential promise in a recently published study. TNBC is the only type of breast cancer for which there are no currently approved targeted therapies. [More]
Scientists identify critical biological factor for transforming adult somatic cells into stem cells

Scientists identify critical biological factor for transforming adult somatic cells into stem cells

In a new Cell Reports paper, a team led by John P. Cooke, M.D., Ph.D., of the Houston Methodist Research Institute, has identified and characterized a biological factor critical to the transformation of adult somatic cells (cells that are not sperm or egg cells) into stem cells. [More]
New study explores mechanisms that control size, shape of tubular organ systems

New study explores mechanisms that control size, shape of tubular organ systems

A new study from the group of Holger Gerhardt in collaboration with Katie Bentley's Lab addresses a long standing question in the wider field of developmental biology and tissue patterning in general, and in the vascular biology field in particular: 'What are the fundamental mechanisms controlling size and shape of tubular organ systems'. [More]
Hippo signaling pathway controls phases of quiescence in fruit fly central nervous system

Hippo signaling pathway controls phases of quiescence in fruit fly central nervous system

Neural stem cells are responsible for the formation of differentiated daughter cells in the developing brain. If no new cells are needed, the stem cells may enter a resting phase called quiescence. Biologists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have now discovered that the phases of quiescence in the Drosophila fruit fly central nervous system are controlled by the Hippo signaling pathway. Drosophila serves as a model organism that helps geneticists to decode the molecular fundamentals of cellular biology and unravel mechanisms that are conserved in human beings and other vertebrates. [More]
Vegetable-based polyphenol enhances wound healing

Vegetable-based polyphenol enhances wound healing

A research group led by Osaka University found a plant-based polyphenol, promotes the migration of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) in blood circulation and accumulates them in damaged tissues to improve wound healing. It is anticipated that the results will be used for stem cell treatments for cutaneous disorders associated with various damage and lesions. [More]
Researchers reposition existing prazosin drug to combat glioblastoma

Researchers reposition existing prazosin drug to combat glioblastoma

Treatments available for glioblastoma—malignant brain tumors—have little effect. An international collaboration led by the Laboratoire Neurosciences Paris-Seine tested active ingredients from existing medications and eventually identified one compound of interest, prazosin, on these tumors. Not only did it seem to be effective in this type of cancer, but it also acted on a signaling pathway that is common with other cancers. [More]
Gladstone scientists bioengineer micro-scale heart tissues from stem cells

Gladstone scientists bioengineer micro-scale heart tissues from stem cells

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have invented a new way to create three-dimensional human heart tissue from stem cells. The tissue can be used to model disease and test drugs, and it opens the door for a precision medicine approach to treating heart disease. Although there are existing techniques to make three-dimensional tissues from heart cells, the new method dramatically reduces the number of cells needed, making it an easier, cheaper, and more efficient system. [More]
Novel gene therapy can improve symptoms of Bubble Boy disease in young adults

Novel gene therapy can improve symptoms of Bubble Boy disease in young adults

Adolescents and young adults with a severe inherited immunodeficiency disorder improved following treatment with novel gene therapy developed at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The results of this study appear today in the journal Science Translational Medicine. [More]
Study shows beneficial effect of hNSC transplantation for TBI

Study shows beneficial effect of hNSC transplantation for TBI

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of mortality and morbidity, often causing lifelong disability for those who survive. Treatment is limited to supportive care, but stem cell therapy has received recent attention as a way to promote recovery for injuries to the central nervous system (CNS). In this study, researchers transplanted human neural stem cells (hNSCs) into the brains of mice modeled with TBI to investigate whether the hosts' immune systems and the stem cells acting in concert would enhance repair. [More]
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