Scientists from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan have recently grown skin tissue from transformed stem cells. Their work demonstrated an advancement from previous efforts to grow skin in that the transplanted stem cells developed as integumentary tissue – the tissue between the outer and inner skin, which holds the functional properties of the skin, including sweat glands and hair follicles.
Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic [a member of StemSave’s Scientific Advisory Council] and her colleagues at Columbia University have created living jaw bone from stem cells paving the way for regenerative therapies in facial reconstruction. Using a CT scan to create a 3D image of each jaw, the team created a scaffold that, when infused with stem cells, formed new bone identical to the original.
StemSave is once again sponsoring the International Conference on Dental and Craniofacial Stem Cells [ICDCSC]. This is the 3rd conference since the inaugural conference of 2012 and will be held on October 20-28 in Paris, France. The conference will be co-chaired by Dr. Jeremy Mao of Columbia University [StemSave’s Chief Scientific Advisor] and Dr. Michael Goldberg of University Paris Descartes. They will be joined by 30 internationally renowned speakers in a collegial and conducive atmosphere to catalyze the biology of stem cell research and translational advances towards therapeutics.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a system that uses differentiated human stem cells to expedite the testing of existing drugs that might work against rare cancers. By transforming human stem cells into an aggressive form of pediatric brain cancer, medulloblastoma, they can be compared to cancer cells already tested against existing drugs.
Researchers, led by Dr. Markus Kuehn of the University of Iowa, are developing a regenerative procedure utilizing stem cells to restore proper drainage for fluid-congested eyes at risk for glaucoma. The injection of stem cells into the eyes of mice with glaucoma led to the proliferation of cells within the trabecular meshwork, a patch of tissue in the eye that serves as a drain for the eyes to avoid fluid buildup.
Dr. John Szivek, a researcher from the University of Arizona, is growing cartilage from stem cells. The process would utilize the patient’s own stem cells. The grown cartilage would be used to repair arthritic related damage, both small and large, and may one day eliminate the need to put plastics and/or metals in patient’s joints.
Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists have a potential development to improve tumor treatments using oncolytic, cancer-killing, viruses. Khalid Shah and his team turned to mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] to house the oncolytic viruses because they trigger a minimal immune response against the virus. The addition of a gel encompassing the MSCs keeps them alive longer to expedite the debulking, or removal, of the tumor. The investigators report that applying the gel-encapsulated MSCs to glioblastoma multiforme, the most common brain tumor in human adults, significantly improved survival in mice.
Rachel Okolicsanyi, a scientist from the Genomics Research Centre at QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, is manipulating mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] to produce neural cells which can be used to treat brain damage. By introducing different chemicals to specific proteins found in stem cells, researchers can determine which chemicals facilitate, or prohibit, their potential to differentiate into neural cells. This advancement in the understanding of how stem cells can be directed will accelerate the development of treatments for brain damage, specifically from strokes and trauma.
Stem Cells may be the key to maintaining your youth as we age. Researchers at the University of Illinois revealed that injecting mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs - the same type of stem cells found in teeth] into the leg muscles of mice facilitated the repair and strengthening of muscles following exercise. Skeletal muscle decreases in mass and function as we age. Armed with a more nuanced understanding of how muscles respond to exercise, researchers are developing novel therapies utilizing MSCs to rejuvenate aged or damaged muscles in humans.
Researchers at the U.K’s University of Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine announced a new advancement in bio-printing. They developed a bio-ink that is comprised of stem cells and two polymers – one naturally occurring and the other artificial. The polymers provide structural support to the stem cells that can then be directed to differentiate into the appropriate tissue. The addition of the phase-change polymer component to the bio-ink allows the printed organ to quickly develop the structural integrity necessary to introduce cell nutrients to the stem cells.