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
In a landmark paper, researchers at Stanford University have described a new way to derive human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) without the use of contaminating mouse feeder cells. Using adipose cells as the starting cell population and mTeSR1, a defined medium that allows the expansion of human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells without the use of feeders, the researchers were able to fully reprogram the cells to the pluripotent state.
mTeSR1 is a fully defined medium and is the most widely used feeder-independent method for culturing human pluripotent stem cells, with citations in more than 25 publications.
A new report brings bioengineered organs a step closer, as scientists from Stanford and New York University Langone Medical Center describe how they were able to use a “scaffolding” material extracted from the groin area of mice on which stem cells from blood, fat, and bone marrow grew. This advance clears two major hurdles to bioengineered replacement organs, namely a matrix on which stem cells can form a 3-dimensional organ and transplant rejection.
Much to the dismay of patients and physicians, cancer stem cells — tiny powerhouses that generate and maintain tumor growth in many types of cancers — are relatively resistant to the ionizing radiation often used as therapy for these conditions. Part of the reason, say researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine, is the presence of a protective pathway meant to shield normal stem cells from DNA damage. When the researchers blocked this pathway, the cells became more susceptible to radiation.
“Our ultimate goal is to come up with a therapy that knocks out the cancer stem cells,” said Robert