Stem cells: From bone marrow to pancreas

Researchers have shown that cells from the bone marrow give rise to insulin-producing cells in the pancreas of mice, opening a potential new way to treat diabetes. These morphed cells actually produce the hormone insulin in response to glucose and display other characteristics demonstrating that they truly function as pancreas cells, according to a new study by NYU School of Medicine researchers.

Radiation, injections turn on immune system to attack brain tumor cells

Researchers are working to develop a non-surgical approach to brain cancer that uses radiation and the injection of specially cultured bone marrow cells into the tumor. The combination sets in motion a local and systemic immune response to kill surviving tumor cells. The novel approach has provided promising results in a study on rats, described in the March 3 issue of the Journal of Immunotherapy. Human trials are expected to begin within the year.

Bone marrow helps bones to repair themselves

Specially prepared titanium mesh and bone marrow cells have made it possible to allow new bone cells to grow in bone fractures. Researchers inserted a titanium mesh scaffold into a bone fracture in a rat. They allowed bone marrow cells to grow on this and the bone marrow cells stimulated new bone growth. In combination with bone marrow cells, titanium mesh forms a good culture medium for new bone growth in the case of bone damage. The researchers improved this bone growth by dynamically ‘sowing’ the cells onto the mesh.

Bone marrow cells take on new role in the brain, say Stanford researchers

Researchers have published new evidence showing that cells from the bone marrow might help repair or maintain cells in other tissues. In a paper in this week’s online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe finding chromosomes from a bone marrow transplant in the brain cells of transplant recipients. When people receive a bone marrow transplant after high-dose chemotherapy, some of the transplanted cells regenerate the blood-making cells that were destroyed. In past experiments in mice, scientists found that cells from the transplant could also relocate to tissues throughout the body rather than being restricted to the bone marrow and blood.

Researchers turn rat stem cells into mouse marrow cells

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.

Caught sleeping: Study captures virus dormant in human cells

Scientists have taken an important step toward understanding a virus that infects and lies dormant in most people, but emerges as a serious illness in transplant patients, some newborns and other people with weakened immune systems. The virus, called human cytomegalovirus, enters the bone marrow and can hide there for a lifetime. Until now, however, scientists had not been able to study the virus in its latent stage because it infects only humans and does not readily infect or become dormant in laboratory strains of bone marrow cells. In a new study researchers demonstrated a laboratory system for studying the virus in its latent stage and discovered a set of genes that may give the virus its great capacity for stealth.

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