Posts Tagged ‘Stem Cells’

Posted: October 9, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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US researchers say they will redouble their efforts to create human sperm from stem cells following the success of a Japanese study involving mice. A Kyoto University team used mice stem cells to create eggs, which were fertilised to produce baby mice. Dr Renee Pera, of Stanford University in California, aims to create human sperm to use for reproduction within two years, and eggs within five years. Infertility affects up to 15% of reproductive-aged couples worldwide. “I know people think it’s Frankenstein medicine, but I think it’s not an imagined or lessened health problem – infertility affects your whole life,” Dr Pera says. “To have sex and have a baby would be a super simple decision, but not everybody can do it.” But using embryonic stem cells for research – as Dr Pera’s lab at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine does – is controversial because the embryos are destroyed in order to use them. Dr Pera’s lab uses embryos left over from IVF treatments. (via BBC News – US scientists aim to make human sperm from stem cells)

Posted: September 13, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Take the eye. The human eye is a wonder as a sensory device, but it is prone to injury and in humans to degenerative illnesses such as macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness. Stem cells are being investigated on a number of fronts for treatments for vision impairment and blindness. The best example might be the work of Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), which I gave my 2011 Award for Stem Cell Company of the Year to, using human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPEs), which is now in combined Phase I/II FDA-approved clinical trials for treating two different forms of macular degeneration. Very exciting. One ACT patient is running a blog that I found very interesting. However, at the same time, bionics researchers are making striking progress to help restore vision as well. Right here at UC Davis, where I am a professor, work was announced today (I’m not involved) in which a bionic telescope is implanted into patients’ eyes who also suffer macular degeneration. Neato! And it seems to work! (via Bionics Vs Stem Cells: Sci-Fi Becoming Reality As These Two Cool Technologies Advance)

Posted: August 29, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Scientists have found that a man’s fertility could be restored by the growing of early stage sperm from a skin sample. Research evidence suggests that adult cells, such as those of the skin, can be induced to return to a more primitive state and then turned into different cell types. To see if it was possible to produce sperm cells, a team at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in the US grew stem cells from skin samples and found they were able to generate key cells, including early stage sperm cells. It is hoped the technique could help men who had cancer during childhood become fathers, as infertility can be a side effect of some cancer treatments. (via Scientists create sperm from skin sample – Telegraph)

Posted: June 23, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Japanese scientists have used induced stem cells to create a liver-like tissue in a dish. Although they have yet to publish their results and much work remains to be done, the achievement could have big clinical implications. If the results bear out, they would also constitute a significant advance in the ability to coax stem cells to self-organize into organs. (via Rudimentary liver grown in vitro : Nature News & Comment)

Posted: June 17, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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A stem-cell biologist has had an eye-opening success in his latest effort to mimic mammalian organ development in vitro. Yoshiki Sasai of the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CBD) in Kobe, Japan, has grown the precursor of a human eye in the lab. The structure, called an optic cup, is 550 micrometres in diameter and contains multiple layers of retinal cells including photoreceptors. The achievement has raised hopes that doctors may one day be able to repair damaged eyes in the clinic. But for researchers at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research in Yokohama, Japan, where Sasai presented the findings this week, the most exciting thing is that the optic cup developed its structure without guidance from Sasai and his team. “The morphology is the truly extraordinary thing,” says Austin Smith, director of the Centre for Stem Cell Research at the University of Cambridge, UK. (via Human-Eye Precursor Grown from Stem Cell: Scientific American)

Posted: June 4, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Anyone who knows a thing or two about biology knows that stem cells have tremendous potential in medicine: anything from repairing and replenishing heart cells after an attack to replacing nerve cells that are progressively lost in the brain of a person with Parkinson’s. One of the big challenges of using stem cells as a therapy is coaxing them to grow into the specific type of tissue that is required. In the body this happens thanks to precise chemical and physical signals, not all of which are yet understood or characterised. Using chemicals to direct the fate of stem cells has worked in laboratories, but the outcomes are not always safe or predictable. Now, a team from Northwestern University in the US thinks it has a solution. They say that they can direct the developmental fate of stem cells using only physical cues, by adapting a well-known technique that traces three-dimensional microscopic shapes and reconstructs them on flat surfaces. The process is called scanning probe lithography. (via How nanotechnology is shaping stem cell research | Nanotechnology world | guardian.co.uk)

Posted: April 24, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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At the turn of the twentieth century, the promise of regenerating damaged tissue was so far-fetched that Thomas Hunt Morgan, despairing that his work on earthworms could ever be applied to humans, abandoned the field to study heredity instead. Though he won the Nobel Prize in 1933 for his work on the role of chromosomes in inheritance, if he lived today, the advances in regenerative medicine may have tempted him to reconsider. Three studies published this week show that introducing new cells into mice can replace diseased cells — whether hair, eye or heart — and help to restore the normal function of those cells. These proof-of-principle studies now have researchers setting their sights on clinical trials to see if the procedures could work in humans. “You can grow cells in a Petri dish, but that’s not regenerative medicine,” says Robin Ali, a geneticist at University College London, who led the eye study. “You have to think about the biology of repair in a living system.” (via Regenerative medicine repairs mice from top to toe : Nature News & Comment)