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Stem Cells

A nerve cell, with the myelin sheath shown in brown (Image: Shutterstock)

Myelin is a fatty tissue that covers the fibers between nerve cells – it’s not unlike the insulation on electrical wiring. When that tissue is compromised, the cells have difficulty communicating, and neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis can be the result. If the myelin of MS sufferers could be regrown, then it’s possible that the disease could be cured. Recently, a team of scientists successfully regenerated myelin in mice, using human skin cells that were reprogrammed into brain cells.  Read More

A implantable material made from a blend of plastics has been developed to regrow damaged ...

Over the past several years, a number of research institutes have been exploring the use of implants made from material with a scaffolding-like structure, as a means of regrowing bone at severe injury sites. Both MIT and Tufts University, for instance, have been working on collagen-based materials. Now, England’s University of Southampton has announced the development of a new type of bone-growing substance, made from plastic.  Read More

The SIRT3 protein molecule that appears to play a central role in regulating aging and lon...

The quest for longer and healthier life, if not immortality, has been part of the human experience since we evolved the ability to recognize the total annihilation of individual death. Our understanding of the biology of aging at the molecular level is advancing so rapidly that it appears inevitable that another decade or two of life will be enabled before long. A new step in what may be the right direction has just been published by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.  Read More

Dorian Gray move aside, scientists have discovered that the immortal hydra polyp might hel...

The tiny freshwater polyp Hydra is a remarkable creature. It does not show any signs of aging and appears to be immortal due to the fact that it contains stem cells capable of continuous proliferation. Researchers from Kiel University have examined this phenomenon and uncovered an important link to the aging process in humans that could lead to the development of advanced rejuvenation therapies.  Read More

A new understanding of eye cells may lead to a treatment for blindness (Photo: Shutterstoc...

There could be new hope for people facing vision loss due to conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa or wet age-related macular degeneration. Scientists from the University of Southampton have discovered that easily-gathered corneal cells may be able to take the place of degraded retinal cells, thus preventing or curing blindness.  Read More

Micrograph of endothelial tissue grown from blood-derived pluripotent stem cells

There are ongoing moral and ethical battles concerning the farming and application of human embryonic stem cells in medical research and applications. Without judging any of the viewpoints represented in the fracas, it is clear that the stem cell world would be a friendlier place if the harvesting of embryonic stem cells were not necessary. Toward this goal, Johns Hopkins scientists have developed a reliable method to turn the clock back on blood cells, restoring them to a primitive stem cell state from which they can then develop into any other type of cell in the body.  Read More

Hydroxyapatite nanoparticles, seen within the MIT-designed film coating

Probably the simplest way to describe an artificial hip would be to say that it’s a ball attached to a stem. The stem is often fastened to the open end of the femur using a glass-like polymer known as bone cement, while the ball takes the place of the original hip bone’s ball joint, rotating within a corresponding implant in the socket of the pelvis. Although problems can occur at that ball-and-socket interface, they can also result when the bone cement cracks, causing the stem to detach from the femur. Scientists at MIT, however, have developed a new type of nanoscale film coating, designed to keep that from happening.  Read More

A previously hairless mouse following an implantation of bioengineered hair follicles recr...

Researchers lead by Professor Takashi Tsuji from the Tokyo University of Science have successfully induced the natural hair growth and loss cycle in previously hairless mice. They have achieved this feat through the implantation of bioengineered hair follicles recreated from adult-tissue derived stem cells. While these results offer new hope for curing baldness, the work has broader implications, demonstrating the potential of using adult somatic stem cells for the bioengineering of organs for regenerative therapies.  Read More

Scientists have used genetically engineered stem cells to seek out and kill HIV-infected c...

Although there is currently no cure for HIV, the body does already contain cells that fight the virus – the problem is, there just aren’t enough of them to completely get rid of it. In 2009, scientists at UCLA performed a proof-of-concept experiment, in which they were able to grow these CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes (better known as infection-fighting “T cells”) from genetically engineered human stem cells. Now, in a subsequent study, they have demonstrated that these engineered cells can seek out and kill HIV-infected cells in a living organism.  Read More

Image of the induced neural stem cells created by reprogramming skin cells (Photo: MPI for...

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, Germany, have broken new ground by reprogramming skin cells from mice into neurons without regressing the cells through a pluripotent stage. The skin cells were reprogrammed directly into multipotent neuronal stem cells - that is, into cells which could only turn into new neurons. This procedure avoids the significant risk that pluripotent stem cells, which can grow into any type of tissue, may accidentally form tumors rather than the desired replacement tissue.  Read More

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