Tag Archives: Science Translational Medicine

Stem cells progress against ALS

Studies begun by Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) scientists eight years ago have led to a report published today that may be amount to a major step in developing treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The findings by Kevin Eggan, a professor in Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB), and colleagues also has produced functionally identical results in human motor neurons in a laboratory dish and in a mouse model of the disease, demonstrating that modeling the human disease with customized stem cells in the laboratory could relatively soon eliminate some
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Stem cells to repair teeth

A Harvard-led team is the first to demonstrate the ability to use low-power light to trigger stem cells inside the body to regenerate tissue, an advance they reported in Science Translational Medicine. The research, led by David J. Mooney, Robert P. Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), lays the foundation for a host of clinical applications in restorative dentistry and regenerative medicine more broadly, such as wound healing, bone regeneration, and more.

The team used a low-power laser to trigger human dental stem cells to form dentin, the hard tissue that
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Patients’ own stem cells may protect against toxins of chemotherapy

Chemotherapy saves lives, but it also kills healthy tissue like bone marrow. According to a new study involving three patients with glioblastoma, a deadly cancer of the brain, stem cells from cancer patients’ own blood may protect their bone marrow from the toxic effects of treatment.

Glioblastomas often carry an active form of a gene called MGMT, which is a DNA repair enzyme that protects the cancer cells against chemotherapy. To overcome that protective effect, doctors use benzylguanine, a drug that blocks MGMT – but that drug also makes bone marrow and blood cells vulnerable. For this study, scientists at Fred Hutchinson
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Targeting Mesothelioma Cancer Stem Cells

Verastem Inc, focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat cancer by the targeted killing of cancer stem cells, announced that a paper, entitled “Merlin Deficiency Predicts FAK Inhibitor Sensitivity: A Synthetic Lethal Relationship,” has been published by Verastem scientists in the latest issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The paper describes the finding that loss of the tumor suppressor merlin predicts for increased responsiveness to drugs targeting cancer stem cells through inhibition of focal adhesion kinase (FAK). Since merlin loss is particularly prevalent in mesothelioma (approximately 50% of patients), the efficacy of FAK inhibition was demonstrated in several
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Synthetic Cardiac Stem Cells Offer Less Risks

Stem cell therapy represents a promising strategy in regenerative medicine. However, cells need to be carefully preserved and processed before usage. In addition, cell transplantation carries immunogenicity and/or tumourigenicity risks.

Mounting lines of evidence indicate that stem cells exert their beneficial effects mainly through secretion (of regenerative factors) and membrane-based cell–cell interaction with the injured cells. Here, we fabricate a synthetic cell-mimicking microparticle (CMMP) that recapitulates stem cell functions in tissue repair.

CMMPs carry similar secreted proteins and membranes as genuine cardiac stem cells do. In a mouse model of myocardial infarction, injection of CMMPs leads to the preservation of viable
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