Decoding cells to unlock stem cells' potential

Stem cells are jacks of all trades, capable of alleviating the consequences of such diverse pathologies as heart attacks, strokes and cancer. However, stem cell therapies have been hampered by possible side effects, which ...

Growing embryonic tissues on a chip

It's no surprise that using human embryos for biological and medical research comes with many ethical concerns. Correct though it is to proceed with caution in these matters, the fact is that much science would benefit from ...

Tapping into the way cells communicate

A new technology discovered by UConn School of Dental Medicine researchers records cellular communication in real time—providing a closer look into the dynamics of cell secretion and a greater understanding of how cells ...

3-D printed tissues and organs without the scaffolding

Engineered tissues and organs have been grown with various degrees of success in labs for many years. Many of them have used a scaffolding approach where cells are seeded onto biodegradable supportive structures that provide ...

The start of a new era in stem cell therapy

A recent study published in the April 8 issue of Nature Chemical Biology improves on the "Cellular Reprogramming" method developed by Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology Prof. Shinya Yamanaka, making it possible to ...

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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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