Researchers have tracked a cell-to-cell signaling pathway that designates the future location of the ear’s sensory organs in embryonic mice. The scientists succeeded in activating this signal more widely across the embryonic tissue that becomes th…
A new method for utilizing adult stem cells for bone or other tissue regeneration without having to go through the intermediate step of expanding the number of cells in tissue culture has won a Kaye Innovation Award for a young doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Kaye Awards, now marking the tenth anniversary year of their inception, were presented on May 27 during the 66th meeting of the Hebrew University Board of Governors meeting in Jerusalem.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota provide evidence for the first time that stem cells derived from adult bone marrow and injected into the blastocyst of a mouse can differentiate into all major types of cells found in the brain. The results of the research are published as the lead article in the April 25, 2003 issue of Cell Transplantation. The potential of these adult stem cells, termed multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs), were the subject of research reported in Nature in June 2002. The research reported this week in Cell Transplantation takes a specific look at the ability of MAPCs to develop into cells typically found in the brain.
Scientists report for the first time that “baby” teeth, the temporary teeth that children begin losing around their sixth birthday, contain a rich supply of stem cells in their dental pulp. The researchers say this unexpected discovery could have important implications because the stem cells remain alive inside the tooth for a short time after it falls out of a child’s mouth, suggesting the cells could be readily harvested for research.
Researchers have explained how adult stem cells can heal diseased liver tissue. The research helps direct scientists in the quest for therapeutic uses of adult stem cells, which are derived from bone marrow. The research may also help define the therapeutic limits of these stem cells.
A cell type with the potential for making the four major types of human tissue has been found in the stomach and small intestine by a Medical College of Georgia researcher. These VENT cells have been found in addition to the three sources of cells typically associated with gastrointestinal development, says Dr. Paul Sohal, MCG developmental biologist, who first identified these cells nearly a decade ago. Identification of VENT — ventrally emigrating neural tube — cells within the stomach and small intestine is another piece in Dr. Sohal’s effort to fully define and describe the cells that he first found migrating out from the neural tube of a chick embryo. If Dr. Sohal’s studies are on target, he’s found the first source of new cells identified in the embryo since 1868 and what might be the precursor for adult stem cells.
In their ongoing research on turning adult stem cells isolated from fat into cartilage, researchers have demonstrated that the level of oxygen present during the transformation process is a key switch in stimulating the stem cells to change. Using a biochemical cocktail of steroids and growth factors, the researchers have “retrained” specific adult stem cells that would normally form the structure of fat into another type of cell known as a chondrocyte, or cartilage cell. During this process, if the cells were grown in the presence of “room air,” which is about 20 percent oxygen, the stem cells tended to proliferate; however, if the level of oxygen was reduced to 5 percent, the stem cells transformed into chondrocytes.
Researchers in North Carolina have successfully demonstrated that genetically altered stem cells from one species can be turned into a different sort of cell in another. Specifically, the researchers converted adult liver stem cells cloned from a male rat into functional adult bone marrow cells in female mice. The accomplishment, known as hematopoietic transdifferentiation, may prove useful for tapping the potential for tissue repair using human adult stem cells.
The Stanford University School of Medicine announced on Dec. 10 plans to form an Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine. This multidisciplinary institute will study both stem cell biology and cancer biology, and will attempt to apply knowledge learned from stem cell biology to new treatments for cancer.
Q: Is Stanford planning on cloning human embryos?
A: No. The new institute will study adult stem cell lines generated from individuals with specific diseases such as cancer or neurodegenerative disorders. The institute will also investigate two different ways of generating new embryonic stem cell lines ? initially in mice. This may be extended to human cell lines if the techniques prove useful.