Medical research

Japan newborn gets liver stem cells in world first

Doctors in Japan have successfully transplanted liver cells derived from embryonic stem cells into a newborn baby, in a world first that could provide new treatment options for infants.

Medical research

Developing human corneal tissue

Corneal diseases often require a transplant using corneal tissue from a donor. Now, researchers from Osaka University have developed a novel method that could be used to generate corneal tissue in a lab more easily. In a ...

Medical research

Advances in production of retinal cells for treating blindness

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and St Erik Eye Hospital in Sweden have discovered a way to refine the production of retinal cells from embryonic stem cells for treating blindness in the elderly. Using CRISPR/Cas9 gene ...

Neuroscience

Can sea anemones show us how to regrow brain tissue?

Re-growing damaged or diseased brain tissue may be the answer to improving treatment of central nervous system disorders such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, epilepsy and Parkinson's disease, among others.

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Embryonic stem cell

Embryonic stem cells (ES cells) are stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of an early stage embryo known as a blastocyst. Human embryos reach the blastocyst stage 4–5 days post fertilization, at which time they consist of 50–150 cells.

Embryonic Stem (ES) cells are pluripotent. This means they are able to differentiate into all derivatives of the three primary germ layers: ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm. These include each of the more than 220 cell types in the adult body. Pluripotency distinguishes ES cells from multipotent progenitor cells found in the adult; these only form a limited number of cell types. When given no stimuli for differentiation, (i.e. when grown in vitro), ES cells maintain pluripotency through multiple cell divisions. The presence of pluripotent adult stem cells remains a subject of scientific debate; however, research has demonstrated that pluripotent stem cells can be directly generated from adult fibroblast cultures.

Because of their plasticity and potentially unlimited capacity for self-renewal, ES cell therapies have been proposed for regenerative medicine and tissue replacement after injury or disease. However Diseases treated by these non-embryonic stem cells include a number of blood and immune-system related genetic diseases, cancers, and disorders; juvenile diabetes; Parkinson's; blindness and spinal cord injuries. Besides the ethical concerns of stem cell therapy (see stem cell controversy), there is a technical problem of graft-versus-host disease associated with allogeneic stem cell transplantation. However, these problems associated with histocompatibility may be solved using autologous donor adult stem cells or via therapeutic cloning.

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