Medical research

Cell-cell signals in developing heart

During late stages of heart development, interactions between the endocardium (the inner layer of cells) and the myocardium (the heart muscle) are known to be crucial. Signaling between these two cell layers during the earliest ...

Diabetes

Stem-cell based therapy for type 2 diabetes and obesity

An article published in Experimental Biology and Medicine details a new therapeutic strategy for obesity and type 2 diabetes. The study, led by Dr. Bing Wang, Professor in the Department of General Surgery at Shanghai Ninth ...

Medical research

Tissue engineering: The big picture on growing small intestines

Babies born prematurely often face intense medical challenges, including intestines that are underdeveloped or diseased. While an intestine transplant can benefit some patients, many babies are simply too small to endure ...

Neuroscience

Scientists recreate blood-brain barrier defect outside the body

Scientists can't make a living copy of your brain outside your body. That's the stuff of science fiction. But in a new study, they recreated a critical brain component, the blood-brain barrier, that functioned as it would ...

Neuroscience

Research sheds new light on how brain stem cells are activated

Our brains are notoriously bad at regenerating cells that have been lost through injury or disease. While therapies using neural stem cells (NSCs) hold the promise of replacing lost cells, scientists need to better understand ...

Medical research

Breaking down pathological protein aggregates

ETH researchers have discovered a new mechanism that brain cells use to protect themselves from protein aggregates. Such aggregates play a key role in Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases. This new finding might ...

Genetics

Brighter possibilities for treating blindness

Advances in preclinical research are now being translated into innovative clinical solutions for blindness, a review published in the 10th Anniversary Series of Science Translational Medicine reports.

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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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