New insight as to how cells maintain their identity

In the body's cells, some proteins are of vital importance as to which genes are active or turned off. Now, researchers from the University of Copenhagen and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center have discovered which ...

A matter of concentration

Plants can grow whole new organs with the help of pluripotent stem cells throughout their entire lives. When necessary, these stem cells can develop into any type of cell within an organism. The biologist Prof. Dr. Thomas ...

Pros and cons of genetic scissors

Crispr technology has greatly facilitated gene editing. Associate Professor Thorsten Müller from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and Dr. Hassan Bukhari from Harvard Medical School discuss its pros and cons in a review article in ...

Brain waves detected in mini-brains grown in a dish

Scientists have created miniature brains from stem cells that developed functional neural networks. Despite being a million times smaller than human brains, these lab-grown brains are the first observed to produce brain waves ...

Bioprinting complex living tissue in just a few seconds

Tissue engineers create artificial organs and tissues that can be used to develop and test new drugs, repair damaged tissue and even replace entire organs in the human body. However, current fabrication methods limit their ...

New hydrogels show promise in treating bone defects

Bioengineers and dentists from the UCLA School of Dentistry have developed a new hydrogel that is more porous and effective in promoting tissue repair and regeneration compared to hydrogels that are currently available. Once ...

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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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