A research breakthrough has proven that it is possible to reprogram mature cells from human skin directly into brain cells, without passing through the stem cell stage. The unexpectedly simple technique involves activating three genes in the skin cells; genes which are already known to be active in the formation of brain cells at the foetal stage.
The new technique avoids many of the ethical dilemmas that stem cell research has faced.
For the first time, a research group at Lund University in Sweden has succeeded in creating specific types of nerve cells from human skin. By reprogramming connective tissue cells,
Piero Anversa, Italian scientist and director of regenerative medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital of Harvard University in Boston is ready to perform the first biological by-pass in history. This evening in Milan during a meeting called ‘Futuro della Sanita’ (The Future of Health), Anversa explained that he has identified human coronary stem cells able to develop into coronary artery tissue.
He said, “My dream is for someone to have a heart attack, come to the hospital, and return home healthy.” For that to occur, it will be necessary to reproduce muscle and the large coronary vessels.
Stem cells from the brain could be transplanted into the ear to cure hearing loss.
Often, age and overstimulation can damage ciliated cells that act like small microphones, allowing us to hear sounds, noise, and voices and are located in the deep ear (cochlea). About 10% of people experience damage to the cells in this area which leads to hearing loss. The loss of these cells is irreversible, but according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a group of scientists from the University of California substituted them with stem cells taken from another area
Scientists at the University of California have found a potential new use for human embryonic stem cells: helping cancer patients recover the cognitive function lost when their brains are treated with radiation.
People with tumors in their head or neck often undergo radiation therapy after the cancer is surgically removed. Radiation helps kill malignant cells left behind. But it also can debilitate the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for learning, memory and processing of spatial information.
The researchers wondered whether embryonic stem cells could pick up the slack.
So they radiated the heads of 18 rats. Two days later, six of those
The metabolic state of glioma stem cells, which give rise to deadly glioblastomas, is significantly different from that of the brain cancer cells to which they give birth, a factor which helps those stem cells avoid treatment and cause recurrence later.
Researchers with the UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center also found for the first time that these glioma stem cells can change their metabolic state at will, from glycolysis, which uses glucose, to oxidative phosphorylation, which uses oxygen.
The glioma stem cells’ ability to change their metabolic state at will also allow these stem cells