When most groups of mammalian cells are faced with a shortage of nutrients or oxygen, the phrase “every man for himself” is more apt than “all for one, one for all.” Unlike colonies of bacteria, which often cooperate to thrive as a group, mammalian cells have never been observed to help one another out. But a new study led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine has shown that certain human embryonic stem cells, in times of stress, produce molecules that not only benefit themselves, but also help nearby cells survive.
“Altruism has been reported among bacterial
One in 10 adults in the U.S. — more than 20 million people — are suffering from some degree of chronic kidney disease. Kidney transplants offer a hope for cure, but thousands of patients die each year due to a shortage of donor organs. Even patients who are lucky enough to receive transplants run the risk of their immune systems rejecting the donor kidneys, and they have to take immunosuppressive drugs with serious side effects for the rest of their lives.
Vito Campese, professor and chair of the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s nephrology division, underscores the need to
Ever since human induced pluripotent stem cells were first derived in 2007, scientists have wondered whether they were functionally equivalent to embryonic stem cells, which are sourced in early stage embryos.
Both cell types have the ability to differentiate into any cell in the body, but their origins — in embryonic and adult tissue — suggest that they are not identical.
Although both cell types have great potential in basic biological research and in cell- and tissue-replacement therapy, the newer form, called IPS cells, have two advantages. They face less ethical constraint, as they do not require embryos. And they could
A study on mice directed by Alessandra Sacco of Stanford University has shown that once inserted into a diseased muscle, just one adult muscular stem cell can reproduce to form an entire ‘family’ of cells and restore lost muscular function. In a leg muscle with no muscular stem cells that has been irreversibly damaged, a single adult stem cell can take root and multiply, restoring muscular function.
The study was presented today in the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Cell Biology
(ASCB) in San Francisco. The muscular stem cells in this case are called
Scientists have now shown that skin cells can be coaxed to behave like muscle cells and muscle cells like skin cells.
The fickleness of the cells, and the relative ease with which they make the switch, provide a glimpse into the genetic reprogramming that must occur for a cell to become something it’s not.
“We’d all like to understand what happens inside the black box (cell),” said Helen Blau, professor and member of Stanford University‘s Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute and co-author of a new study on the subject.
Harnessing these genetic makeovers will allow scientists to better