Monday, June 18, 2012

Advances in Stem Cell Therapies

More advances in stem cell therapies with every passing day. Stroke patients show signs of improvement in earlyy phase clinical trials in Scotland. A ten year old girl gets vein growth from her own stem cells. ReNeuron to present the pre-clinical data related to its ReN009 therapy for critical limb ischaemia, a chronic and debilitating disease that restricts blood flow in the limbs at a major stem cell a conference in Japan this week.


Optimal way of growing embryonic stem cells


A team of European researchers discovered that embryonic stem cell properties are impacted by the laboratory conditions used to grow them. The study, supported by four EU projects - HEROIC, PLURISYS, EUROSYSTEM and ATLAS - evaluated the gene expansion (transcriptome) and chromatin modifications (epigenome). The results show differences between pure stem cells and embryonic stem cells grown in laboratory conditions. Stem cells being both unstable and primed to differentiate, the researchers now know the key information on what is the optimal way of growing them. The transcriptome analysis allows scientists to identify which genes are turned on or off inside the cells. The gene's level of activity is also calculated through this method. The epigenome analysis provides researchers insight into how genes are controlled.


Human embryonic stem cells may be totipotent


Another study led at Salk Institute uncovered that a small number of human embryonic stem cells believed to be pluripotent may be totipotent. Totipotent stem cells have the potential to develop into any cell found in the human body, including placental cells. Whereas Pluripotent stem cells cannot produce "extraembryonic" cells such as those in the placenta. More information on this study here.


Funding problems: Scientists urge EU parliament to not cut funding


Leading researchers, institutions and patient groups urged EU parliament not to cut funding for embryonic stem cell research in Horizon 2020. With Europe and UK being world leaders in embryonic stem cell research, any cuts will seriously jeopardize the future of stem cell research. 



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