Elusive pancreatic stem cells found in adult mice

Just as many scientists had given up the search, researchers have discovered that the pancreas does indeed harbor stem cells with the capacity to generate new insulin-producing beta cells. If the finding made in adult mice holds for humans, the newfound progenitor cells will represent an obvious target for therapeutic regeneration of beta cells in diabetes, the researchers report in the Jan. 25 issue of Cell, a publication of Cell Press.
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Protein that controls hair growth also keeps stem cells slumbering

Like fine china and crystal, which tend to be used sparingly, stem cells divide infrequently. It was thought they did so to protect themselves from unnecessary wear and tear. But now new research from Rockefeller University has unveiled the protein that puts the brakes on stem cell division and shows that stem cells may not need such guarded protection to maintain their potency.
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Scientists restore walking after spinal cord injury

Spinal cord damage blocks the routes that the brain uses to send messages to the nerve cells that control walking. Until now, doctors believed that the only way for injured patients to walk again was to re-grow the long nerve highways that link the brain and base of the spinal cord. For the first time, a UCLA study shows that the central nervous system can reorganize itself and follow new pathways to restore the cellular communication required for movement.

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Beating Heart Created In Laboratory: Method May Revolutionize How Organ Tissues Are Developed

By using a process called whole organ decellularization, scientists from the University of Minnesota Center for Cardiovascular Repair grew functioning heart tissue by taking dead rat and pig hearts and reseeding them with a mixture of live cells. The research will be published online in the January 13 issue of Nature Medicine.

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Repairing damaged retinas is now a possibility

Japanese researchers from RIKEN and Kyoto University have demonstrated retinal regeneration in a mammalian model of retinal degeneration after stimulation of the Wnt signaling pathway, which functions as a regulator of some adult stem cell populations—in addition to its better known roles in embryogenesis and development.It is a discovery that may ultimately lead to new therapies for retinal diseases including the degenerative disease called retinitis pigmentosa. Continue reading “Repairing damaged retinas is now a possibility”

Scientists invent novel hydrogels for repairing, regenerating human tissue

University of Delaware scientists have invented a novel biomaterial with surprising antibacterial properties that can be injected as a low-viscosity gel into a wound where it rigidifies nearly on contact–opening the door to the possibility of delivering a targeted payload of cells and antibiotics to repair the damaged tissue.

Regenerating healthy tissue in a cancer-ridden liver, healing a biopsy site and providing wounded soldiers in battle with pain-killing, infection-fighting medical treatment are among the myriad uses the scientists foresee for the new technology.

 

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Why can’t we grow new body parts?

This is an excellent video by Alan Russell, who studies regenerative medicine.

Regenerative medicine is a breakthrough way of thinking about disease and injury by helping the body to rebuild itself. He shows how engineered tissue that “speaks the body’s language” has helped a man regrow his lost fingertip, how stem cells can rebuild damaged heart muscle, and how cell therapy can regenerate the skin of burned soldiers.

This presentation is hosted at TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design). It is a very nice site that hosts talks by world’s greatest thinkers and doers.

Stem cells enhance hearing recovery

Researchers have shown that bone marrow stem cells injected into a damaged inner ear can speed hearing recovery after partial hearing loss. The related report by Kamiya et al, “Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation accelerates hearing recovery through the repair of injured cochlear fibrocytes,” appears in the July issue of The American Journal of Pathology.

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Blood clotting protein may inhibit spinal cord regeneration

Fibrinogen, a blood-clotting protein found in circulating blood, has been found to inhibit the growth of central nervous system neuronal cells, a process that is necessary for the regeneration of the spinal cord after traumatic injury. The findings by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, may explain why the human body is unable to repair itself after most spinal cord injuries.

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Muscle Repair Depends on Multiple Cell Types

Researchers have identified a new population of stem cells that act to repair muscle after damage.

Until now, researchers had assumed that all of these cells, which are called satellite cells, had similar properties. They all seemed to follow the same developmental path to becoming mature muscle. The new discoveries show that the developmental fate of a given satellite cell depends on its physical orientation immediately after cell division.
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Scientists succeed in hair follicle regeneration in an animal model

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that hair follicles in adult mice regenerate by re-awakening genes once active only in developing embryos. These findings provide unequivocal evidence for the first time that, like other animals such as newts and salamanders, mammals have the power to regenerate. These findings are published in the May 17 issue of Nature.

A better understanding of this process could lead to novel treatments for hair loss, other skin and hair disorders, and wounds.

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Scientists unlock mystery of embryonic stem cell signaling pathway

A newly discovered small molecule called IQ-1 plays a key role in preventing embryonic stem cells from differentiating into one or more specific cell types, allowing them to instead continue growing and dividing indefinitely, according to research performed by a team of scientists who have recently joined the stem-cell research efforts at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.
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Scientists Make Major Discovery to Advance Regenerative Medicine

Scientists at Forsyth may have moved one step closer to regenerating human spinal cord tissue by artificially inducing a frog tadpole to re-grow its tail at a stage in its development when it is normally impossible. Using a variety of methods including a kind of gene therapy, the scientists altered the electrical properties of cells thus inducing regeneration. This discovery may provide clues about how bioelectricity can be used to help humans regenerate.
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