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Human Skin Cells Reprogrammed Directly Into Brain Cells

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Scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington’s disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Unlike other techniques that turn one cell type into another, this new process does not pass through a stem cell phase, avoiding the production of multiple cell types, report researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

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Promise Put to the Test

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UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center is pushing therapeutic stem cell-based science out of the laboratory and closer to real-world medical applications. The unprecedented trials involve potential therapies for spinal cord injuries, Type 1 diabetes and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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New Insight That “Mega” Cells Control the Growth of Blood-Producing Cells

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While megakaryocytes are best known for producing platelets that heal wounds, these “mega” cells found in bone marrow also play a critical role in regulating stem cells according to new research from the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. In fact, hematopoietic stem cells differentiate to generate megakaryocytes in bone marrow. The Stowers study is the first to show that hematopoietic stem cells (the parent cells) can be directly controlled by their own progeny (megakaryocytes).

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Discovery of Repair Process After Heart Attack Suggests Potential for New Treatment Strategy

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UCLA stem cell researcher Dr. Arjun Deb has discovered that some scar-forming cells in the heart, known as fibroblasts, have the ability to become endothelial cells (the cells that form blood vessels), and this study can point the way toward a new strategy for treating patients after a heart attack.

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Cell Discovery Challenges Dogma on How Fetus Develops; Holds Insights for Liver Cancer and Regeneration

A Mount Sinai-led research team has discovered a new kind of stem cell that can become either a liver cell or a cell that lines liver blood vessels, according to a study published today in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

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One Signal Means Different Things to Stem Cells Versus Their Progeny

Two listeners might hear the same message, but understand it differently and take different actions in response. Something similar happens within the hair follicle: Stem cells and their progeny react quite differently to an important group of signaling proteins.

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Study Finds Link Between Neural Stem Cell Overgrowth and Autism-Like Behavior in Mice

A UCLA study shows how, in pregnant mice, inflammation, a first line defense of the immune system, can trigger an excessive division of neural stem cells that can cause “overgrowth” in the offspring’s brain, and, ultimately, autistic behavior.

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Grafted Stem Cells Display Vigorous Growth in Spinal Cord Injury Model

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Researchers used human iPSC stem cells to grow brand new nerves in a rat model of spinal cord injury. The neurons grew tens of thousands of axons that extended the entire length of the spinal cord. The iPSCs were made using the skin cells of an 86 year old male, demonstrating that even in an individual of advanced age, the ability of the cells to be turned into a different cell type (pluripotency) remained.

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Biomarkers, Stem Cells Offer New Ways to Treat Deadly Gut Disease in Premature Babies

Two major breakthroughs in the treatment of necrotizing enterocolitis suggest that there may finally be a way to stop this lethal disease of prematurity.

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Scientists Identify Key Factor That Maintains Stem Cell Identity

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A protein implicated in several cancers appears to play a pivotal role in keeping stem cells in an immature “pluripotent” state, according to a new study by NYU Langone Medical Center scientists.

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