Tag Archives: Harvard University

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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Brain stem cell transplant may pave way for Parkinson’s

Neuron transplants have repaired brain circuitry and substantially normalized function in mice with a brain disorder, an advance indicating that key areas of the mammalian brain are more reparable than was widely believed.

Collaborators from Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) transplanted normally functioning embryonic neurons at a carefully selected stage of their development into the hypothalamus of mice unable to respond to leptin, a hormone that regulates metabolism and controls body weight. These mutant mice usually become morbidly obese, but the neuron transplants repaired defective brain circuits, enabling
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Scientists Reveal How Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Differ From Embryonic Stem Cells and Tissue of Derivation

The same genes that are chemically altered during normal cell differentiation, as well as when normal cells become cancer cells, are also changed in stem cells that scientists derive from adult cells, according to new research from Johns Hopkins and Harvard.

Although genetically identical to the mature body cells from which they are derived, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are notably special in their ability to self-renew and differentiate into all kinds of cells. And now scientists have detected a remarkable if subtle molecular disparity between the two: They have distinct “epigenetic” signatures; that is, they differ in what gets
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