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News

STICKY GEL HELPS STEM CELLS HEAL RAT HEARTS

Meta Zarnik

 

The findings, described in the December 2015 issue of Biomaterials, offer a potential first step to a new way to heal human hearts after heart attacks as well. Researchers have tried to improve stem cell retention in the heart by injecting millions, only to have a mere 10-to-20 percent stick around an hour after injection. A sticky, protein-rich gel created by Johns Hopkins researchers appears to help stem cells stay on or in rat hearts and restore their metabolism after transplantation, improving cardiac function after simulated heart attacks, according to results of a new study.

Breakthrough in stem cell treatment for Parkinson's

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In a major breakthrough for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, researchers from Lund University in Sweden, working with laboratory rats show it is possible to make dopamine cells from embryonic stem cells and transplant them into the brain, replacing the cells lost to the disease. Parkinson's disease is caused by the gradual loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical that, among other things, helps regulate movement and emotional responses. Link to the article

Scientists Grow New Blood Vessels In Just 7 Days

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Using just a couple spoonfuls of blood, scientists have grown functioning blood vessels in a dish in just seven days. Amazingly, doctors then successfully transplanted the vascular grafts into three children for bypass procedures. Now that the safety and feasibility of this speedy procedure has been established, medics can start using the technique as a novel way to treat patients with vascular diseases across the globe, which affect some 25 million individuals worldwide. Link to the article

Stem cells – the future of cancer treatment?

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Scientists from Harvard Medical School have discovered a way of turning stem cells into killing machines to fight brain cancer. In experiments on mice, the stem cells were genetically engineered to produce and secrete toxins which kill brain tumours, without killing normal cells or themselves. They also posed no risk to normal, healthy cells. Researchers said the next stage was to test the procedure in humans. A stem cell expert said this was "the future" of cancer treatment. Link to the article

From stem cells to new diabetes treatment

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Thanks to a breakthrough in stem cell research, scientists are tantalizingly close to finally achieving an effective treatment for type 1 diabetes. Using human embryonic stem cells, Harvard researchers have developed a technique that allows them to produce insulin-producing cells in quantities sufficient for both drug discovery and transplantation into diabetes sufferers. Due to the success of pre-clinical non-human animal trials, the researchers are hopeful that human trials could be initiated in just a few years. Link to the article

Stem Cells Allow Nearly Blind Patients to See

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In a report published in the journal Lancet, scientists led by Dr. Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer at Advanced Cell Technology, provide the first evidence that stem cells from human embryos can be a safe and effective source of therapies for two types of eye diseases—age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 60, and Stargardt’s macular dystrophy, a rarer, inherited condition that can leave patients legally blind and only able to sense hand motions. Link to the article

New Technique For Identifying Rare Stem Cells in Bone Marrow

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Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate into many tissues like bone, fat, cartilage, and muscle. For this reason, scientists are very interested in using these progenitor cells in order to create replacement tissues for those who have been injured or who have disorders that prevent normal tissue growth. Within bone marrow, true MSCs are very hard to distinguish from cells that have already had their fate determined for a particular cell type due to molecular markers on the cell surface. This ambiguity of cell type is preventing work with bone marrow-derived MSCs from being as successful as they could be. This method of identification will allow scientists to obtain a purer sample of MSCs for research and clinical use than have previously been used. That should lead to more reliable patient outcomes. Link to the article

CONVERSION OF SKIN CELLS INTO WHITE BLOOD CELLS

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For the first time, scientists have turned human skin cells into transplantable white blood cells, soldiers of the immune system that fight infections and invaders. The work could let researchers create therapies that introduce into the body new white blood cells capable of attacking diseased or cancerous cells or augmenting immune responses against other disorders. Link to the article

RESEARCHERS' NIGHT

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This year's Researchers’ Night will take place at Kongresni trg in Ljubljana on 26. 09. 2014. The event is funded by the European Commission's Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon 2020. Researchers' NIght gives scientists the opportunity to explain what goes on behind lab doors. Welcome to the presentation of company Animacel at 6.15 pm!

Unexpected source of stem cells

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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have discovered that stem cells inside the soft tissues of the tooth come from an unexpected source, namely nerves. These findings now contribute to brand new knowledge of how teeth are formed, how they grow and how they are able to self-repair. Today we do not have the possibility of growing new teeth in adults, but the discovery of this new type of stem cells is an important step towards the knowledge and technology that is required to make it a future possibility. Link to the article

A step forward to treatment of brain diseases

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Scientists at the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB) of the University of Luxembourg have grafted neuron stem cells reprogrammed from skin cells into the brains of mice for the first time with long-term stability. Six months after implantation, the neurons had become fully functionally integrated into the brain. This successful, because lastingly stable, implantation of neurons raises hope for future therapies that will replace sick neurons with healthy ones in the brains of Parkinson's disease patients, for example. In future, implanted neurons could produce the lacking dopamine directly in the patient's brain and transport it to the appropriate sites. This could result in an actual cure, as has so far been impossible. Link to the article

STEM CELLS IN THE BATTLE AGAINST ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

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Alzheimer's disease is one of the most common dementias among the elderly. Recent evidence from Tsinghua University, China, has demonstrated that transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells can stimulate neurogenesis in the brain of adult rat or mouse models of Alzheimer's disease and improve tissue and function injury under the condition of cerebral ischemia. Link to the article

STEM CELLS TURNED INTO BLOOD

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The ability to reliably and safely make in the laboratory all of the different types of cells in human blood is one key step closer to reality. A group led by University of Wisconsin-Madison stem cell researcher Igor Slukvin reports the discovery of two genetic programs responsible for taking blank-slate stem cells and turning them into both red and the array of white cells that make up human blood. An unfulfilled aspiration, says Slukvin, is to make hematopoietic stem cells, multipotent stem cells found in bone marrow. Link to the article

CORNEAS REGROWN FROM ADULT HUMAN STEM CELLS

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Corneal abrasions are some of the most common eye injuries that can result in blindness. Identifying the stem cells that regenerate corneas comes from a recent study involving a wide collaboration between healthcare facilities in Boston. Targeting the stem cells not only resulted in an increased success in corneal transplants, but is one of the first known instances of using adult-derived stem cells to regenerate tissue. Link to the article

PROMISING STUDY FOR PATIENTS WITH PARKINSON'S DISEASE

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Recent study has shown that fetal dopamine cells transplanted into the brains of patients with Parkinson’s disease were able to remain healthy and functional for up to 14 years, a finding that could lead to new and better therapies for the illness. The discovery could pave the way for researchers to begin transplanting dopamine neurons taken from stem cells grown in laboratories, a way to get treatments to many more patients in an easier fashion. Link to the article

A FEARLESS AND PAINLESS TRIP TO A DENTIST?

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Imagine if a trip to the dentist to treat a cavity didn’t involve a filling, root canal, or crown. What if a simple light treatment could actually get your teeth to regrow themselves using stem cells? The researchers from Harvard have developed a technique using a low-power laser to coax stem cells into reforming rat dentin, which could have implications for dentistry, wound healing, and bone restoration. Link to the article