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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.
Salk Institute researchers heal injured hearts of living mice

Salk Institute researchers heal injured hearts of living mice

Researchers at the Salk Institute have healed injured hearts of living mice by reactivating long dormant molecular machinery found in the animals' cells, a finding that could help pave the way to new therapies for heart disorders in humans. [More]
Scientists develop human stem cell disease model of Parkinson's disease in a dish

Scientists develop human stem cell disease model of Parkinson's disease in a dish

A team of scientists led by The New York Stem Cell Foundation Research Institute successfully created a human stem cell disease model of Parkinson's disease in a dish. Studying a pair of identical (monozygotic) twins, one affected and one unaffected with Parkinson's disease, another unrelated Parkinson's patient, and four healthy control subjects, the scientists were able to observe key features of the disease in the laboratory, specifically differences in the patients' neurons' ability to produce dopamine, the molecule that is deficient in Parkinson's disease. [More]
Researchers develop 'smart bomb' to attack B-lineage ALL

Researchers develop 'smart bomb' to attack B-lineage ALL

Fatih Uckun, Jianjun Cheng and their colleagues have taken the first steps towards developing a so-called "smart bomb" to attack the most common and deadly form of childhood cancer — called B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). [More]
Study sheds light on DCIS recurrence

Study sheds light on DCIS recurrence

Work by University of Manchester scientists has explored what allows some cases of Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS), a non-invasive form of breast cancer, to resist treatment and come back, as well as identifying a potential new target to improve the effectiveness of radiotherapy. [More]
Joslin researcher identifies molecular pathway that causes neural tube defects in diabetic pregnancies

Joslin researcher identifies molecular pathway that causes neural tube defects in diabetic pregnancies

Mary R. Loeken, Ph.D., Investigator in the Section on Islet Cell and Regenerative Biology at Joslin Diabetes Center and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, has discovered a molecular pathway responsible for neural tube defects in diabetic pregnancies. Her latest research findings in this pathway were published in the October issue of Diabetes. [More]
Stem cell technologies market expected to show annual increase of 16.2% over 2010-2020

Stem cell technologies market expected to show annual increase of 16.2% over 2010-2020

Though therapies are in their nascent phase, sales of stem cell technologies are expected to show an annual increase of 16.2% over the 2010-2020 period, reaching an expected market value of nearly $1 billion, according to Kalorama Information's report, Stem Cell Therapeutics Markets. [More]
Aging astrocytes lose ability to protect motor neurons, reveal Cedars-Sinai ALS researchers

Aging astrocytes lose ability to protect motor neurons, reveal Cedars-Sinai ALS researchers

Lou Gehrig's disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, attacks muscle-controlling nerve cells – motor neurons – in the brain, brainstem and spinal cord, leading to progressive weakness and eventual paralysis of muscles throughout the body. Patients typically survive only three to five years after diagnosis. [More]
Changes in cell metabolism slow growth of colorectal cancer

Changes in cell metabolism slow growth of colorectal cancer

Cancer is an unwanted experiment in progress. As the disease advances, tumor cells accumulate mutations, eventually arriving at ones that give them the insidious power to grow uncontrollably and spread. Distinguishing drivers of cancer from benign mutations open opportunities for developing targeted cancer therapies. [More]
Kiadis Pharma's ATIR product receives EMA's ODD for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia

Kiadis Pharma's ATIR product receives EMA's ODD for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia

Kiadis Pharma B.V., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing T-cell immunotherapy treatments for blood cancers, today announces that its lead product ATIR has been granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). [More]
New standard of care for pediatric AML patients who receive umbilical cord transplants

New standard of care for pediatric AML patients who receive umbilical cord transplants

A new standard of care for children facing acute myeloid leukemia (AML) may be clear, following a multi-year study published in the latest edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. [More]
Bortezomib drug effective against chronic GVHD

Bortezomib drug effective against chronic GVHD

Researchers at UC Davis have found that the drug bortezomib effectively treats chronic graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a common and debilitating side effect from allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants. [More]
Scientists devise novel way to use stem cells in fight against brain cancer

Scientists devise novel way to use stem cells in fight against brain cancer

Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have devised a new way to use stem cells in the fight against brain cancer. A team led by neuroscientist Khalid Shah, MS, PhD, who recently demonstrated the value of stem cells loaded with cancer-killing herpes viruses, now has a way to genetically engineer stem cells so that they can produce and secrete tumor-killing toxins. [More]
UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center named new 'alpha clinic'

UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center named new 'alpha clinic'

In a push to further speed clinical development of emerging stem cell therapies, Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego Health System was named today one of three new "alpha clinics" by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state's stem cell agency. [More]
MIT researchers develop new way to model effects of cancer-causing genetic mutations

MIT researchers develop new way to model effects of cancer-causing genetic mutations

Sequencing the genomes of tumor cells has revealed thousands of genetic mutations linked with cancer. However, sifting through this deluge of information to figure out which of these mutations actually drive cancer growth has proven to be a tedious, time-consuming process. [More]
CHLA physician discusses urological issues in children

CHLA physician discusses urological issues in children

Children's Hospital Los Angeles physician-scientist Roger E. De Filippo, MD, an associate professor of urology and director of Pediatric Urology Stem Cell Research at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California discusses how science, technology and parental care can lead to improved pediatric urological health. [More]
Esophageal tissue can be grown in vivo from human and mouse cells, say researchers

Esophageal tissue can be grown in vivo from human and mouse cells, say researchers

In a first step toward future human therapies, researchers at The Saban Research Institute of Children's Hospital Los Angeles have shown that esophageal tissue can be grown in vivo from both human and mouse cells. The study has been published online in the journal Tissue Engineering, Part A. [More]
Research findings could provide new insights into esophageal cancer, Barrett's esophagus

Research findings could provide new insights into esophageal cancer, Barrett's esophagus

Despite previous indications to the contrary, the esophagus does have its own pool of stem cells, said researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in an animal study published online today in Cell Reports. [More]
Melbourne researchers suggest new mechanism for bowel cancer development

Melbourne researchers suggest new mechanism for bowel cancer development

Melbourne researchers have challenged conventional thinking on how the bowel lining develops and, in the process, suggested a new mechanism for how bowel cancer starts. [More]
NIH presents 2014 New Innovator Award to Penn Medicine researcher

NIH presents 2014 New Innovator Award to Penn Medicine researcher

Roberto Bonasio, PhD, an assistant professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and a core member of the Penn Epigenetics Program is one of the recipients of a 2014 New Innovator Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). [More]
New treatment strategy may improve repair process after heart attack

New treatment strategy may improve repair process after heart attack

In a study that could point the way toward a new strategy for treating patients after a heart attack, UCLA stem cell researchers led by associate professor of medicine (cardiology) and Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research member Dr. Arjun Deb have discovered that some scar-forming cells in the heart, known as fibroblasts, have the ability to become endothelial cells (the cells that form blood vessels). [More]