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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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Scientists regenerate retinal cells in mice

Scientists have successfully regenerated cells in the retina of adult mice at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. Their results raise the hope that someday it may be possible to repair retinas damaged by trauma, glaucoma and other eye diseases.

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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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Bioengineered human livers mimic natural development

An international team of researchers bioengineering human liver tissues uncovered previously unknown networks of genetic-molecular crosstalk that control the organ’s developmental processes – greatly advancing efforts to generate healthy and usable human liver tissue from human pluripotent stem cells.

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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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One Gene Closer to Regenerative Therapy for Muscular Disorders

A detour on the road to regenerative medicine for people with muscular disorders is figuring out how to coax muscle stem cells to fuse together and form functioning skeletal muscle tissues. A study published June 1 in Nature Communications reports scientists identify a new gene essential to this process, shedding new light on possible new therapeutic strategies.

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Stem cells might help repair damaged intervertebral discs

If the fibrocartilage tissue in the spine degenerates over time, an intervertebral disc – the “shock absorber” between the vertebrae of the spine – can “slip,” pinching the medulla or nerves. The consequences include intense pain or even paralysis.

Not just people, but dogs, too, are susceptible to this disease. Since intervertebral discs cannot regenerate, the affected disc material is removed in an operation that can be performed on both people and animals. The pressure on the nerves and medulla disappears, but the degeneration of the disc remains.

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