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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.
New approach for developing personalized gene therapies to treat retinitis pigmentosa

New approach for developing personalized gene therapies to treat retinitis pigmentosa

Columbia University Medical Center researchers have created a way to develop personalized gene therapies for patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a leading cause of vision loss. [More]
New gene therapy may be effective for fighting fungal infections in cancer patients

New gene therapy may be effective for fighting fungal infections in cancer patients

Sleeping Beauty and fungal infections - not two items one would normally associate together, but for immunocompromised cancer patients they may prove to be a helpful combination. [More]
First report of spinal cord mass arising from spinal cord cell transplantation

First report of spinal cord mass arising from spinal cord cell transplantation

A spinal mass was identified in a young woman with complete spinal cord injury 8 years after she had undergone implantation of olfactory mucosal cells in the hopes of regaining sensory and motor function. [More]
Study provides new knowledge about EphA2 receptor involved in several forms of cancer

Study provides new knowledge about EphA2 receptor involved in several forms of cancer

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have headed a study that provides new knowledge about the EphA2 receptor, which is significant in several forms of cancer. This is important knowledge in itself - but just as important is how this study, which is published in the highly respected journal Nature Methods, was conducted. [More]
Discovery points the way to potential new strategies to treat blood disorders

Discovery points the way to potential new strategies to treat blood disorders

Like a line of falling dominos, a cascade of molecular events in the bone marrow produces high levels of inflammation that disrupt normal blood formation and lead to potentially deadly disorders including leukemia, an Indiana University-led research team has reported. [More]
Researchers reveal how schizophrenia-linked genetic variation alters skeletons of developing brain cells

Researchers reveal how schizophrenia-linked genetic variation alters skeletons of developing brain cells

Johns Hopkins researchers have begun to connect the dots between a schizophrenia-linked genetic variation and its effect on the developing brain. As they report July 3 in the journal Cell Stem Cell, their experiments show that the loss of a particular gene alters the skeletons of developing brain cells, which in turn disrupts the orderly layers those cells would normally form. [More]
Findings provide new insights into the basic biology of stem cells

Findings provide new insights into the basic biology of stem cells

A team of researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University and Salk Institute for Biological Studies has shown for the first time that stem cells created using different methods produce differing cells. [More]
Researchers discover a way to restore corneal surface

Researchers discover a way to restore corneal surface

A Boston-based scientific collaborative, led by Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers, has discovered a way to collect the best cell type for regenerating a damaged cornea-the clear membrane that covers the pupil and directs light into the back of the eye. [More]
Bone marrow transplantation shows promising results among patients with severe sickle cell disease

Bone marrow transplantation shows promising results among patients with severe sickle cell disease

Use of a lower intensity bone marrow transplantation method showed promising results among 30 patients (16-65 years of age) with severe sickle cell disease, according to a study in the July 2 issue of JAMA. [More]
A*STAR scientists pioneered a molecular connection between obesity and diabetes

A*STAR scientists pioneered a molecular connection between obesity and diabetes

Scientists from the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, a research institute under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, have discovered that obese individuals lack a protein that is essential for regulating blood glucose levels, causing them to face higher risks of developing diabetes. [More]
Complete analysis of regenerative medicine market

Complete analysis of regenerative medicine market

According to a new market research report by Allied Market Research titled, "GlobalRegenerative MedicineMarket (Technology, Applications, Geography) - Industry Analysis, Trends, Opportunities and Forecast, 2013-2020", the global regenerative medicine market will reach $ 67.6 billion by 2020 from $16.4 billion in 2013, registering a CAGR of 23.2% during forecast period (2014 - 2020). [More]
Switching off a single gene converts human gastrointestinal cells into insulin-producing cells

Switching off a single gene converts human gastrointestinal cells into insulin-producing cells

By switching off a single gene, scientists at Columbia University's Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center have converted human gastrointestinal cells into insulin-producing cells, demonstrating in principle that a drug could retrain cells inside a person's GI tract to produce insulin. [More]
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in veterans: an interview with Milan Michael Karol, The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in veterans: an interview with Milan Michael Karol, The Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”. It is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by the death of motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord. [More]
Study of mutations in cell's DNA help trace its life history

Study of mutations in cell's DNA help trace its life history

Researchers have developed new methods to trace the life history of individual cells back to their origins in the fertilised egg. By looking at the copy of the human genome present in healthy cells, they were able to build a picture of each cell's development from the early embryo on its journey to become part of an adult organ. [More]
Light-sensitive molecule enables noninvasive silencing of neurons

Light-sensitive molecule enables noninvasive silencing of neurons

Optogenetics, a technology that allows scientists to control brain activity by shining light on neurons, relies on light-sensitive proteins that can suppress or stimulate electrical signals within cells. This technique requires a light source to be implanted in the brain, where it can reach the cells to be controlled. [More]
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma subgroups found to have different survival rates

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma subgroups found to have different survival rates

A Mayo Clinic-led group of researchers has discovered three subgroups of a single type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that have markedly different survival rates. These subgroups could not be differentiated by routine pathology but only with the aid of novel genetic tests, which the research team recommends giving to all patients with ALK-negative anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL). Findings are published in the journal Blood. [More]
Cancer drug shows promise in treating blood cell disorders

Cancer drug shows promise in treating blood cell disorders

Scientists working to make gene therapy a reality have solved a major hurdle: how to bypass a blood stem cell's natural defenses and efficiently insert disease-fighting genes into the cell's genome. [More]
Researchers discover primordial cancer in primitive and evolutionary old animals

Researchers discover primordial cancer in primitive and evolutionary old animals

Every year around 450,000 people in Germany are diagnosed with cancer. Each one of them dreams of a victory in the battle against it. [More]
Sclerosis patients treated with HSCT experience better long-term event-free survival

Sclerosis patients treated with HSCT experience better long-term event-free survival

Among patients with a severe, life-threatening type of sclerosis, treatment with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), compared to intravenous infusion of the chemotherapeutic drug cyclophosphamide, was associated with an increased treatment-related risk of death in the first year, but better long-term survival, according to a study in the June 25 issue of JAMA. [More]
Mode of cancer cell recognition opens up new possibilities for leukaemia immunotherapy

Mode of cancer cell recognition opens up new possibilities for leukaemia immunotherapy

Scientists at A*STAR's Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) have discovered a new class of lipids in the leukaemia cells that are detected by a unique group of immune cells. By recognising the lipids, the immune cells stimulate an immune response to destroy the leukaemia cells and suppress their growth. [More]