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Using barcodes to trace cell development

How do the multiple different cell types in the blood develop? Scientists have been pursuing this question for a long time. According to the classical model, different developmental lines branch out like in a tree. The tree trunk is composed of stem cells and the branches are made up of various types of progenitor cells that can give rise to a number of distinct cell types. Then it further branches off into the specialized blood cells, i.e., red blood cells, blood platelets and various types of white blood cells that are part of the immune system. In recent years, however, doubts about this model have arisen.

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New way to activate stem cells to make hair grow

UCLA researchers have discovered a new way to activate the stem cells in the hair follicle to make hair grow. The research, led by scientists Heather Christofk and William Lowry, may lead to new drugs that could promote hair growth for people with baldness or alopecia, which is hair loss associated with such factors as hormonal imbalance, stress, aging or chemotherapy treatment.

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New approach shows promise for stem cell-based therapy for skin-to-brain cancer

Investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute have a potential solution for how to kill tumor cells that have metastasized to the brain. The team has developed cancer-killing viruses that can deliver stem cells via the carotid artery, and applied them to metastatic tumors in the brain of clinically relevant mouse models. The investigators report the elimination of metastatic skin cancer cells from the brain of these preclinical models, resulting in prolonged survival.

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Clinical trial under way to test how stem cells regenerate knee cartilage

A groundbreaking randomized clinical trial (RCT) evaluating the use of a patient’s own stem cells to regenerate knee cartilage is underway at Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze, Florida. The study, led by Adam Anz, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Andrews Institute, is the first multicenter Phase II United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) observed RCT of its kind.

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Stem cells show promise in treating asthma

A study led by scientists at Monash University has shown that a new therapy developed through stem cell technology holds promise as a treatment for chronic asthma.

The Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI) scientists provided the experimental expertise to test Cynata Therapeutics’ induced pluripotent stem cell-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in a model of experimental asthma. Induced pluripotent stem cells are a type of pluripotent stem cell that can be generated directly from adult cells; they have the ability to be differentiated into a variety of tissue types and, in this case, MSCs that can regenerate damaged lung tissue.

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Clinical trials using embryonic stem cells to begin in China

A clinical trial scheduled to begin in the next few months will be the first in China to use human embryonic stem (ES) cells, and the first one worldwide aimed at treating Parkinson’s disease using ES cells from fertilized embryos. In a second trial starting around the same time, a different team in China will use ES cells to target vision loss caused by age-related macular degeneration.

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