At the intersection of stem cell research and the world of Harry Potter you'll find new work by CIRM grantees at Stanford University School of Medicine that can speed the rate of bone healing by three times. It's not quite Skele-gro, but it's close, at least in mice.
Stem cells in fat hold intrigue for scientists because most of us have excess to spare, and the cells seem to be quite versatile. Now a team at Stanford has found a way to transform them into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells without using potentially dangerous viruses to carry the reprogramming genes into the cells.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that a gene long-known to regulate the lifespan of tiny roundworms also plays a role in regulating neural stem cells in mice.
Variations of the gene family, called FoxO, help roundworms live to an unusually ripe old age in the lab, and mutations in the FoxO3 gene have also recently been associated with long life in Japanese, German, American and Italian populations. Laboratory mice lacking FoxO3 live to about half their usual age of 30 months before dying of cancer.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that clusters of embryonic stem cells in a lab dish share some unexpected similarities with actual embryos. These clumps, called embryoid bodies, consist of hundreds of cells, many of which begin to form more mature cell types. For example, they often contain groups of primitive heart muscle cells that beat visibly. In this work the researchers found that the embryoid bodies also contain a line of cells that resemble an embryonic structure called the primitive streak.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine found that cells derived from human embryonic stem cells could repair damage in a mouse model of heart attack. The researchers first looked at which genes were active at every stage between the human embryonic stem cells and early heart muscle cells. The cells they implanted mirrored the genes that are active in the hearts of 20 week old fetal mice.
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine have created new stem cell lines from cells found in the human testes. Like embryonic stem cells, these cell lines are pluripotent, which means that they can form all cell types in the adult body. The work follows similar research finding that adult stem cells in mouse testes can be reprogrammed into pluripotent cells. However, the researchers found that the cells differed from embryonic stem cells in several important ways.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that human embryonic stem cells trigger an immune response much like organ rejection when transplanted into mice. In the past, researchers had thought that transplanted embryonic stem cells might not be rejected the way transplanted organs are. Testing this theory, the team found that after transplanting human embryonic stem cells into normal mice, those cells disappeared within seven to ten days. In mice without an immune system the cells survived and even multiplied.
Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine derived new human embryonic stem cell lines using minimal animal products. Although numerous groups have derived stem cell lines, most were generated in the presence of animal serum and animal-derived feeder cells. These animal products are a concern because they may cause the stem cells to produce an immune response when transplanted into humans and may induce biological changes especially to the genome.