Researchers from North Carolina State University have identified a gene that tells embryonic stem cells in the brain when to stop producing nerve cells called neurons. The research is a significant advance in understanding the development of the nervous system, which is essential to addressing conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders.
The bulk of neuron production in the central nervous system takes place before birth, and comes to a halt by birth. But scientists have identified specific regions in the core of the brain that retain stem cells into adulthood and continue to produce new
Larry Goldstein, the director of the stem cell programme at the University of California in San Diego, explains to Al Jazeera the implications of this decision that now allows government funding for human embryonic stem cell research.
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Scientists seeking new ways to fight maladies ranging from arthritis and osteoporosis to broken bones that won’t heal have cleared a formidable hurdle, pinpointing and controlling a key molecular player to keep stem cells in a sort of extended infancy. It’s a step that makes treatment with the cells in the future more likely for patients.
Controlling and delaying development of the cells, known as mesenchymal (pronounced meh-ZINK-a-mill) stem cells, is a long-sought goal for researchers. It’s a necessary step for doctors who would like to expand the number of true
Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center researchers have identified a new population of intestinal stem cells that may hold clues to the origin of colorectal cancer.
This new stem cell population, reported March 30 in the journal Cell, appears to be relatively quiescent (inactive) – in contrast to the recent discovery of intestinal stem cells that multiply rapidly — and is marked by a protein, Lrig1, that may act as a “brake” on cell growth and proliferation.
The researchers have also developed a new and clinically relevant mouse model of colorectal cancer that investigators can now use to better understand where and how the
Cardiomyocytes, the workhorse cells that make up the beating heart, can now be made cheaply and abundantly in the laboratory.
A team of Wisconsin scientists describes a way to transform human stem cells — both embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells — into the critical heart muscle cells by simple manipulation of one key developmental pathway. The technique promises a uniform, inexpensive and far more efficient alternative to the complex bath of serum or growth factors now used to nudge blank slate stem cells to become specialized heart cells.
“Our protocol is more efficient and robust,” explains Sean Palecek, the senior