Tag Archives: Harvard University

Stem cells against brain cancer

In a breakthrough, Harvard scientists have discovered that stem cells loaded with the herpes virus can be used to specifically target and kill brain tumours.

Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have a potential solution for how to more effectively kill tumour cells using cancer-killing viruses.

The work, led by Khalid Shah, an HSCI Principal Faculty member, found that trapping virus-loaded stem cells in a gel and applying them to tumours significantly improved survival in mice with glioblastoma multiforme, the most common brain tumour in human adults and also the most difficult to treat (…)

Shah and his
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Stem cells used to make “heart disease-on-a-chip”

Harvard scientists have merged stem cell and ‘organ-on-a-chip’ technologies to grow, for the first time, functioning human heart tissue carrying an inherited cardiovascular disease.

The research appears to be a big step forward for personalized medicine, as it is working proof that a chunk of tissue containing a patient’s specific genetic disorder can be replicated in the laboratory.

The work, published in Nature Medicine, is the result of a collaborative effort bringing together scientists from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Boston Children’s Hospital, the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Harvard Medical
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Stem cell progeny tell their parents when to turn on

Stem cells switch off and on, sometimes dividing to produce progeny cells and sometimes resting. But scientists don’t fully understand what causes the cells to toggle between active and quiet states (…)

New research in Elaine Fuchs’ Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development focused on stem cells in the hair follicle to determine what switches them on. The researchers found cells produced by the stem cells, progeny known at Transit-Amplifying Cells or TACs, emit a signal that tells quiet hair follicle stem cells to become active.

“Many types of mammalian stem cells produce TACs, which act as an intermediate between
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Stem Cell Therapy without Stem Cell Transplants

Transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells has been widely used as an approved treatment of leukemia, lymphoma and certain autoimmune conditions for the past fifty years. Other adult stem cells have demonstrated safety and efficacy in pre-clinical research and clinical trials. Mesenchymal stem cell transplants have been most widely studied in animals, especially horses & dogs, and humans. Many of these studies have focused on skeletal-muscular effects.

There is significant support for safety and efficacy in osteoarthritis, including cartilage regeneration, pain and inflammation reduction as well as recovery of function using intra-articular MSC injections. There are fewer studies of neural stem
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Stem Cells: From skin cells to motor neurons

A team of Harvard stem cell researchers has succeeded in reprogramming adult mouse skin cells directly into the type of motor neurons damaged in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), best known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). These new cells, which researchers are calling induced motor neurons (iMNs), can be used to study the development of the paralyzing diseases and to develop treatments for them.

Producing motor neurons this way is much less labor intensive than having to go through the process of creating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC, iPS cells), and is so much faster than the
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