Aleph Farms, a pioneering lab-grown meat company, has sent stem cells to the International Space Station (ISS) and demonstrated that they can be differentiated into lab-grown meat in zero gravity conditions. The scientists at the ISS used a 3D bioprinting technique to culture and develop the stem cells into bovine muscle tissue, and the cells developed just like they have successfully done so on Earth. Astronauts are concerned with every gram of additional materials that they take on their voyages, and one of the main hurdles to long-term space exploration is the inability to pack enough resources to make longer trips.
Topics: lab grown meat
Researchers are using human dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) to treat stress urinary incontinence (SUI), an involuntary bladder leakage due to an increase in pressure or damage to the urethral sphincter. Treatments for this condition typically target the symptoms rather than the cause of SUI. As this condition affects over 200 million people worldwide, developing a viable treatment option, as opposed to symptom control, will improve the quality of life of millions of people. Additionally, since this study utilizes human DPSCs, patients who have banked their dental stem cells will have access to this treatment option without the need to find a suitable donor match or assume the risk of rejection.
Topics: dental pulp stem cells
A patient diagnosed with both HIV and leukemia has undergone a revolutionary gene therapy combined with a stem cell transplant. The most common treatment for leukemia is radiation and chemotherapy to eliminate the patient’s malfunctioning blood cells, which are created in the bone marrow. Following radiation and chemo, patients typically receive intravenous infusions of healthy blood stem cells to re-establish healthy bone marrow. However, the researchers took this treatment one step further by editing the new stem cells to disrupt the effect of a gene called CCR5, which the HIV virus typically uses to infect immune cells. In doing so, the doctors tackled both the patient’s leukemia and HIV in one revolutionary therapy.
Researchers have determined that an autologous mesenchymal stem cell treatment for progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) is safe and effective. Mesenchymal stem cells [the same type of stem cells found in teeth] have been shown to help support neurons that are damaged by the immune system in patients with MS. Researchers at Hadassah University in Israel have successfully completed a clinical trial that tested the application of patients’ own cells to help repair and support neurons affected by MS. The trial involved obtaining stem cells from patients, culturing and multiplying them in the lab, and infusing them back either intravenously or by direct injection into the spinal cord.
Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed advanced CRISPR gene editing technology to modify an entire gene network in one shot. This is a significant step forward in correcting genetic disorders, as many genetic abnormalities and mutations that lead to palpable symptoms are controlled by several genes in various locations on the genome. The advance resulted from the use of a CRISPR enzyme called Cas12a, as opposed to Cas9, which is currently used for all gene editing done with the CRISP technology.
A research team at the Netherlands’ Utrecht University, in collaboration with the Swiss EMPA Research Institute, have developed a new 3D bio-printer that significantly decreases printing times, without harming or damaging the cells being printed. Conventional bioprinting takes hours, and even days for some complex structures, which creates the problem of maintaining the live cells in the structure that is printed over a prolonged period. The technique involves using a laser beam aimed at a printer that is depositing a light-sensitive hydrogel that contains stem cells. The laser can precisely target a structure within the gel and solidify it within seconds, without affecting the contained stem cells.
Topics: 3D printed organs
Researchers at Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences are utilizing stem cells and nano-electronics to study cell differentiation and disease models outside the body. The researchers are utilizing the latest advances in organ 3D printing and combining these organs with tiny sensors in culture in order to better understand human cells and tissues and gain invaluable insight, without having to worry about finding patients with specific, rare disorders. The researchers found a way to create a network of interconnected sensors and seed this structure with stem cells to have an organ develop around the sensors and be constantly monitored and observed from the cellular level. This is something that cannot be done with actual human organs, and full-sized sensors are often too large to fit into strategic places in organ tissues.
Topics: stem cell organs
Researchers at the University of Plymouth Peninsula Dental School have discovered a new class of dental stem cells that could help regenerate teeth from within. The researchers studied rodents, who have constantly growing incisors and discovered a new class of mesenchymal stem cells, which use a genetic marker to communicate an injury and stimulate regeneration of the tooth. The gene in question was identified as Dlk1 and could offer insight into manipulating human dental pulp stem cells to regenerate teeth affected by decay and physical injury.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are combining stem cells and collagen to create organized printed structures that could be assembled into full-sized hearts. The breakthrough here involves the ability to keep the collagen in the desired shape throughout the printing process, since it initially deposits as a liquid. The researchers used a new hydrogel to temporarily support the deposited collagen, and then easily removed the gel by heating the structure to room temperature. The researchers also used 3D imaging to create valves, ventricles and blood vessels, seeding them with stem cells to then be assembled into full-sized hearts.
“Clean meat” is getting closer to consumers’ tables. Several clean meat companies are perfecting their culturing and differentiation protocols to obtain chicken meat from the stem cells of a live chicken in just two weeks. This is significantly shorter than the time required to grow a chicken in typical livestock farming. Additionally, the process doesn’t involve slaughtering animals, thereby eliminating ethical concerns many people have regarding eating meat. By eliminating the need to grow livestock on large-scale farms, clean meat companies will significantly mitigate the environmental impact of the livestock industry and alleviate food shortages.