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Stem Cell
Stem cell research aids understanding of cancer
By Dross at 2012-07-20 20:25
 

The study, published in the journal Stem Cell, adds to our understanding of the role of stem and next stage progenitor cells in tissue regeneration and in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. While stem cells are known to reside in organs such as the liver and pancreas, they are difficult to isolate. The new findings show that an antibody developed by the team can be used to capture the stem cells.

read more | 5 comments | 3716 reads

The evolving stem cell story. Will we live a thousand years?
By Dross at 2008-04-17 09:21
 

Stem cells are everywhere in the news these days. It seems that everywhere you turn they are being applied to uses as varied as heart repair to cloning of your favorite species of animal. If you are confused as to what stem cell is or isn't, or if you think they are illegal, read on. In the human body we have an enormous number of stem cells. Skin stem cells, blood stem cells, liver stem cells, and unfortunately even cancer stem cells. So what makes a stem cell? and what makes a cancer stem cell?

As of a few months ago, the Holy Grail of stem cell science was found. In a suite of papers in Nature Stem Cell, researchers were able to turn ordinary skin cells into cells capable of differentiating into many other cells, in effect taking the cell backwards in time, and providing a base for the creation of other cells that patient might need. The breakthrough was done by modifying only four genes in the cell. Imagine then that a cancer cell could, randomly, activate the same genes. So then what tells the cell what it should be? Its environment. Scientists have found that the answer to a cell's life cycle lies in large part outside of the cell. The key is the Extracellular Matrix, which mediates biochemical and biomechanical interactions with a cell. As stated in the Journal of Cell Biology "A common feature of mammary epithelial tumors in vivo is a disruption of tissue organization and polarity. Consistent with their structural function, catenin-cadherin- cytoskeletal interactions have been shown to be frequently altered in breast cancers, and loss of cell-cell interactions is associated with altered tissue organization and increased tumor invasiveness." In short, when a cancerous cell was tricked into believing it was receiving the proper signals from its environement it no longer acted in a cancerous fashion.

read more | 4507 reads

A Functional Immune System Can Be Derived From Embryonic Stem Cells, Preliminary Study Finds
By Dross at 2008-02-13 02:01
 

 

 

A new study demonstrates for the first time that embryonic stem cells can be used to create functional immune system blood cells, a finding which is an important step in the utilization of embryonic stem cells as an alternative source of cells for bone marrow transplantation. This hopeful news for patients with severe blood and immune disorders, who need these transplants for treatment, was prepublished online in Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology.

Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are being intensely investigated as a renewable source of primitive cells theoretically able to regenerate all tissues and organs. The use of ESC-derived blood-forming cells may have an important advantage over traditional transplants that use bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, and peripheral blood from donors. The antigens on the surface of donated cells must be compatible (determined by a method called HLA matching) with those of the patient to prevent rejection. The use of embryonic stem cells, which have low levels of these antigens and may therefore be less likely to provoke a defensive reaction by the patient's body, may allow patients who can't find suitable HLA-matched donors to receive transplants.

read more | 1634 reads

Discovery of good -- and bad -- liver stem cells raises possibility of new treatment
By Dross at 2008-02-11 00:34
 

Many scientists believe up to 40 percent of liver cancer is caused by stem cells gone wild – master cells in the organ that have lost all growth control. But, despite years spent looking, no one has ever found these liver “cancer stem cells” – or even normal stem cells in the organ. Until now.

In the February 19, 2008 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center report discovering both types of stem cells, and by comparing their genetic “signatures,” they found evidence to suggest that a new type of experimental drug now being tested in other cancers might offer benefit in treating liver cancer.

read more | 2333 reads

Discovery of good -- and bad -- liver stem cells raises possibility of new treatment
By Dross at 2008-02-09 02:32
 

Many scientists believe up to 40 percent of liver cancer is caused by stem cells gone wild – master cells in the organ that have lost all growth control. But, despite years spent looking, no one has ever found these liver “cancer stem cells” – or even normal stem cells in the organ. Until now.

In the February 19, 2008 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center report discovering both types of stem cells, and by comparing their genetic “signatures,” they found evidence to suggest that a new type of experimental drug now being tested in other cancers might offer benefit in treating liver cancer.

read more | 3403 reads

Cell division studies hint at future cancer therapy
By Dross at 2008-01-22 23:34
 

When a cell’s assets get divided between daughter cells, Dr. Quansheng Du wants to make sure both offspring do well.

He’s dissecting the complex, continuous and amazing process that enables one cell to become two.

When all goes well, cell division, or mitosis, helps repopulate a damaged organ or replenish endogenous stem cells.

When it goes badly, it can result in cancer or developmental defects.

“What we are trying to understand is how cells divide,” says Dr. Du, cell biologist at the Medical College of Georgia, who recently received $2 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society to pursue his studies.

read more | 1343 reads

Study Reports Successful Cloning of Human Embryo Using Adult DNA
By Dross at 2008-01-17 21:15
 

A California research team has become the first to report, and painstakingly document, the cloning of a human embryo using donated oocytes (egg cells) and DNA from the cells of an adult donor. The study was published online today by the journal "Stem Cells."

 

The experiments, using a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), provide key steps toward the development of patient-specific embryonic stem cells for use in developing new treatments for conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and spinal cord injury, among others. The lead author was Andrew J. French, Ph.D., of Stemagen Corp., a private company headquartered in La Jolla, Calif.

read more | 5 comments | 2796 reads

Stem cells in adult testes provide alternative to embryonic stem cells for organ regeneration
By Dross at 2007-09-20 00:09
 

NEW YORK (Sept. 20, 2007) -- Easily accessed and plentiful, adult stem cells found in a male patient's testicles might someday be used to create a wide range of tissue types to help him fight disease -- getting around the need for more controversial embryonic stem cells.

That's the promise of a breakthrough study in mice led by a team from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, who report their findings in the September 20 issue of Nature.

Using spermatogonial progenitor stem cells (SPCs) obtained from the mouse's testes, the researchers were able to redirect the cells' development in the lab to form so-called "multi-potent adult spermatogonial-derived stem cells" (MASCs).

read more | 1749 reads

Stem cells used to build breast tissue after mastectomy
By Dross at 2007-07-12 19:33
 

Scientists in Japan claim to be able to increase the size of a woman's breasts using fat and stem cells. The technique uses fat from the stomach or thigh which is then enriched with stem cells before being injected. It is hoped the method could prove a more natural-looking alternative to artificial implants filled with salt water or silicone. But plastic surgeons working in Britain have greeted news of the technique with "extreme caution." Kotaro Yoshimura, a surgeon at the Tokyo University medical school, said more than 40 patients had been treated.

 

[via BBC NEWS | Health | Stem cells used to boost breasts]:

1982 reads

Cancer stem cells similar to normal stem cells can thwart anti-cancer agents
By Dross at 2007-06-19 00:27
 

TORONTO, June 15 – Current cancer therapies often succeed at initially eliminating the bulk of the disease, including all rapidly proliferating cells, but are eventually thwarted because they cannot eliminate a small reservoir of multiple-drug-resistant tumor cells, called cancer stem cells, which ultimately become the source of disease recurrence and eventual metastasistermterm. Now, research by scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine suggests that for chemotherapyterm to be truly effective in treating lung cancers, for example, it must be able to target a small subset of cancer stem cells, which they have shown share the same protective mechanisms as normal lung stem cells. They are presenting this ground-breaking research at the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) North American Chapter meeting being held June 13 to 16 at the Westin Harbor Castle conference center in Toronto.

read more | 6 comments | 1943 reads

Pre-cancerous blood diseases can be products of their environment
By Dross at 2007-06-15 00:13
 

When blood-forming stem cells misbehave, causing pre-cancerous conditions that can sometimes even progress to leukemiaterm, the problem might not always lie with them. Rather, two studies in the June 15 issue of the journal Cell, published by Cell Press, reveal that a bad environment might be to blame.

Both reports show that defects in the bone marrow—where blood cells are made—can spawn such pre-cancerous blood disorders in mice. Previously, such myeloproliferative syndromes were thought to be rooted in the blood cells themselves.

“We show that the bone marrow microenvironment can make the blood cells become abnormal, like a type of pre-leukemic disease,” said Louise Purton, who is affiliated with Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Australia, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Such pre-cancerous conditions are often difficult to treat in humans, she added, mainly because not much is known about what causes the blood cells to act out.

read more | 3476 reads

Stem cells provide clues to cancer spread
By Dross at 2007-05-22 22:06
 

Scientists have made a breakthrough in understanding how cancers spread in what could lead to new ways of beating the disease.

The University of Manchester study used embryonic stem (ES) cells to investigate how some tumours are able to migrate to other parts of the body, which makes the treatment of cancer much more difficult.

Dr Chris Ward, in the University’s Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, studied a crucial change that makes cancer cells able to start moving and spread into other tissues.

Normal cells, as well as early cancer cells, are called epithelial cells because they bind tightly to each other forming stable layers of tissue. However, as a tumour becomes more advanced, some of the cells change to become ‘mesenchymal’.

read more | 1843 reads

Reversing cancer cells to normal cells
By Dross at 2007-04-30 01:32
 

In earlier work, Northwestern University scientist Mary J.C. Hendrix and colleagues discovered that aggressive melanoma cells (but not normal skin cells nor less aggressive melanoma cells) contain specific proteins similar to those found in embryonic stem cells. This groundbreaking work led to the first molecular classification of malignant melanoma and may help to explain how, by becoming more like unspecialized stem cells, the aggressive melanoma cell gained enhanced abilities to migrate, invade and metastasize while virtually undetected by the immune system.

Now, in the American Association of Anatomists’ plenary lecture and symposium, at Experimental Biology 2007 in Washington, DC, Dr. Hendrix describes new research that used an innovative experimental approach to provide unique insights into how scientists can change human metastaticterm melanoma cells back to normal-like skin cells - by exposing the tumor cells to the embryonic microenvironment of human embryonic stem cells, the zebra fish and the chick embryo.

read more | 1712 reads

Precancerous stem cells?
By Dross at 2007-03-15 02:05
 

Scientists have discovered a new type of cell that appears to play a role in the development of cancer – a highly volatile, precancerous stem cell that can either remain benign or become malignant, depending upon environmental cues.

The finding may help define the role of cancer stem cells in the growth and recurrence of the disease as well as offer new options for cancer prevention, detection and treatment.

read more | 3573 reads

Study questions 'cancer stem cell' hypothesis in breast cancer
By Dross at 2007-03-13 22:17
 

BOSTON -- A Dana-Farber Cancer Institute study challenges the hypothesis that "cancer stem cells" – a small number of self-renewing cells within a tumor – are responsible for breast cancer progression and recurrence, and that wiping out these cells alone could cure the disease.

Instead, the scientists report in the March issue of Cancer Cell that they have identified two genetically distinct populations of cancer cells in samples of human breast tumors – one of the types being a cell recently proposed by other scientists to be a true breast cancer stem cell.

"If the breast cancer cells were all coming from a single cancer stem cell, you might be able to cure the disease with just one drug," said Kornelia Polyak, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber, senior author of the paper. "But our findings suggest that the tumor cells come from a ‘stem-like’ progenitor cell, and then diverge genetically, so I think you have to treat both cell types."

read more | 2578 reads

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