Douglas A. Melton
Scientists have created stem cells from patients suffering from 10 incurable diseases, from Down syndrome to diabetes and Parkinson’s – immortal cells that might one day be turned into repair material for wasting muscles or damaged brains.
The Harvard University-led team has taken skin and bone marrow cells from diseased patients and re-programmed those cells to behave like cells from days-old embryos.
The feat allows scientists for the first time to watch muscular dystrophy and other diseases unfold in a petri dish, “that is, to watch what goes right or wrong,” said Doug Melton, co-director of the Harvard
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Scientists at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and the University of Ottawa have discovered a powerful new way to stimulate muscle regeneration, paving the way for new treatments for debilitating conditions such as muscular dystrophy.
The research, to be published in the June 5 issue of Cell Stem Cell, shows for the first time that a protein called Wnt7a increases the number of stem cells in muscle tissue, leading to accelerated growth and repair of skeletal muscle.
“This discovery shows us that by targeting stem cells to boost their numbers, we can improve the body’s ability to repair