Bioengineers from the University of California, San Diego, have identified a mechanism by which stem cell differentiation is regulated by the exertion of mechanical pressure. Using optical tweezers to apply mechanical force to stem cells, the researchers, led by Dr. Yingxiao Wang, observed the release of calcium ions, which are critical in the cellular communication required for stem cell differentiation. Dr. Wang’s team concluded that the forces of a stem cell’s environment, such as the tension inside the jaw, can promote the cell’s maturation into stiff tissue like bone or cartilage.
In a recently published study from the Queen Mary University of London, scientists discovered a connection between the length of cilia [hair-like projections for cell movement] on stem cells and their proclivity towards differentiating into fat cells. By restricting the elongation of stem cell cilia, the researchers were able to impede on the formation of new fat cells.
The New York-based startup Epibone intends to begin human testing on a procedure that will utilize stem cells to regenerate living bone tissue. The researchers, originally from Columbia University, will apply autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells to nanofiber scaffolding of the desired size and shape and direct the stem cells to differentiate into a physical and genetic replica of the patient’s own bone.
Topics: osteoporosis, limbs, Fingers, Jaw, Bone loss, Joints, Bone, Debilitating Diseases, Arthritis, Stemcells, Knee, hip, autologousstemcells, cartilage, grants, Mandibular bone, young stem cells, stemsaveblog
Medical researchers from Keele University and Nottingham University have integrated remote controlled magnetic nanoparticles to incite the differentiation of stem cells into new bone tissue for the treatment of bone diseases, disorders, and injuries. In pre-clinical trials, the nanoparticles were coated with proteins that stimulate the stem cells, and then delivered directly to the damaged tissue via an external magnetic field.
Complex chemical polymers are currently being developed by scientists at Stanford University to protect and support the proliferation of stem cells during spinal cord transplantation procedures. The gels are designed to provide padding for the cells during injection, while also varying in viscosity and the biochemical signals contained within to offer stem cells an optimal environment for differentiation.
As reported on the front page of the New York Times Science section, clinical applications of stem cell based therapies are accelerating at a rate that will revolutionize the medical field in a matter of years. In the United States alone, there are currently over 4000 therapies in clinical trials for the treatment of heart disease, blindness, spinal cord injuries, diabetes, H.I.V., and other diseases, injuries, and traumas.
Topics: Muscular Dystrophy, ALS, Parkinson's, Phase III, multiple sclerosis, Heart, Joints, Alzheimer's, burn injuries, Diabetes, Acute Myocardial Infarction, Brain, Heart Failure, clinical trials, Bone, Debilitating Diseases, Phase II, Arthritis, Stemcells, Teeth, autologousstemcells, cartilage, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Brain Tumors, Blindness, stemsaveblog
In recent clinical trials, researchers at the National University of Ireland Galway have successfully utilized adult stem cells to treat patients with osteoarthritis. The treatment involves recovering the patients’ own [autologous] stem cells and then injecting the stem cells into cartilage to stimulate the regeneration of lost tissue.
Topics: osteoporosis, Fingers, Phase III, Bone loss, Joints, knee replacement, clinical trials, Bone, Debilitating Diseases, Arthritis, Stemcells, Feet, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hip replacement, Knee, hip, autologousstemcells, cartilage, Cartilage degradation, stemsaveblog
A research team, led by Dr. Eric Darling of Brown University, has found a potential source of stem cells to protect children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia against the adverse effects of the chemotherapy drug methotrexate (MTX). Adipose-derived stem cells, which appear to be impervious to the bone-degenerative side effects of MTX, may allow children to undergo the chemotherapy treatment and then regain the lost bone tissue afterwards.
Researchers at the Wyss Institute and Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a self-shrinking gel that, when loaded with mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs], stimulates their ability to differentiate into teeth, bones, and organs in vivo [in the patient’s body]. The gel is designed to spontaneously compress at 37°C [the temperature of the human body], which places the physical pressure required to trigger the stem cells’ proliferative properties while inside the patient’s body.
Researchers at the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research have developed a method of utilizing autologous [the patient’s own] dental stem cells to regenerate damaged or decayed teeth. In an animal model, as well as human cells in vitro [in a lab], the scientists treated the damaged teeth with low-intensity lasers, which prompted the stem cells located in the dental pulp to differentiate and grow into new, healthy dentin tissue.