Medical research

Artificial muscle sheets transform stem cells into bone

Specifically programmed materials can, under specific conditions, encourage stem cells to transform into bone cells—as revealed by a German research team under the leadership of the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Centre ...

Immunology

Creatine powers T cells' fight against cancer

Creatine, the organic acid that is popularly taken as a supplement by athletes and bodybuilders, serves as a molecular battery for immune cells by storing and distributing energy to power their fight against cancer, according ...

Medications

Antibody eradicates leukemia stem cells

The introduction of the drug imatinib in 2001 revolutionized the treatment of a type of cancer called chronic myelogenous leukemia. In more than 80 percent of people with CML who received the drug, the disease went into complete ...

Medical research

Researchers find a new pathological mediator of ALS

A research collaboration based in Japan has found a new pathological mediator of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which could have further implications for understanding the molecular breakdown that gives rise to the ...

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Stem cell

Stem cells are cells found in most, if not all, multi-cellular organisms. They are characterized by the ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and differentiating into a diverse range of specialized cell types. Research in the stem cell field grew out of findings by Canadian scientists Ernest A. McCulloch and James E. Till in the 1960s. The two broad types of mammalian stem cells are: embryonic stem cells that are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells that are found in adult tissues. In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all of the specialized embryonic tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing specialized cells, but also maintain the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin or intestinal tissues.

Stem cells can now be grown and transformed into specialized cells with characteristics consistent with cells of various tissues such as muscles or nerves through cell culture. Highly plastic adult stem cells from a variety of sources, including umbilical cord blood and bone marrow, are routinely used in medical therapies. Embryonic cell lines and autologous embryonic stem cells generated through therapeutic cloning have also been proposed as promising candidates for future therapies.

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