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Regenerating and Restoring Brain Cells in the Aged With Donor Neural Stem Cells

brain

The human brain, as it turns out, is far more malleable than we once thought. Even adult brains. But they are subject to age-related diseases and disorders, such as dementia and diminished cognitive function. There is hope that medical science may be able to replace brain cells and restore memory in aging patients thanks to new discoveries in neural stem cell techniques. Researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine recently published new findings in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine that suggests a new technique for preparing donor neural stem cells and grafting them into an aged brain can regenerate tissue that has succumbed to structural, chemical, and functional changes, as well as a host of neurocognitive changes that can be attributed...

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Stem Cell “Tattoo” Technology Allows Researchers to Track Cell Implants Non-invasively

Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a tracer ink—a “stem cell tattoo”—that provides the ability to monitor stem cells in unprecedented detail after they're injected. The research findings, titled “Bifunctional Magnetic Silica Nanoparticles for Highly Efficient Human Stem Cell Labeling,” was published in June in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Already emerging as an ideal probe for noninvasive cell tracking, the technology has the potential to revolutionize stem cell research by arming scientists with the ability to visually follow the pathways and effectiveness of stem cell therapies in the body, in real time. "Tattoo" tracer can help further development of stem cell therapies University of Toronto biomedical engineering professor Hai-Ling Margaret Cheng, a biomedical engineer who specializes in medical imaging, says the new technology allows researchers...

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Stem Cell-stimulating Fillings Help Regenerate Teeth Damaged by Disease, Decay

teeth stem cells

Researchers from Harvard University and the University of Nottingham have developed a new filling that stimulates stem cells in dental pulp to regenerate and even regrow teeth damaged by disease and decay.  According to Newsweek Magazine, the discovery earned a prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry after judges described it as a “new paradigm for dental treatments.” The treatment is believed to potentially eliminate the need for root canals. Filling materials stimulate stem cells to encourage dentin growth The filling works by stimulating the body’s natural store of stem cells  to encourage the growth of dentin—the bony material that makes up the majority of the tooth—allowing patients to effectively regrow teeth that are damaged through dental disease. The filling’s synthetic biomaterials are used similarly to dental fillings, placed...

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New Guidelines for Stem Cell Research and Therapies Aim to Protect Patients from Charlatan Quackery

Stem cell research has never been more advanced, and as a result many different types of treatments are currently offered on the market. Unfortunate ly, some providers are practicing quackery in stem cell therapies, and an abundance of well-intentioned scientific and medical personnel are prematurely publicizing their work. These providers and publishers have cast an unfair shadow of mistrust on this very important branch of medical research and potential treatments. On the other hand, the contributions of professional medical and stem cell societies and other organizations require self-regulation through accreditation and certification, development of standards, and creation of a platform for collaboration among stakeholders. Professional Guidelines for responsible Stem Cell Research International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) is the largest professional organization of stem cell scientists. In 2007,...

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Researchers Move Closer to Lung Stem Cell Therapies to Treat Chronic Lung Diseases

Chronic lung diseases are the third leading causes of death in the U.S.  Chronic lung diseases include a collection of illnesses that cause airflow blockage and breathing-related issues, including primarily chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. Lung disease involves changes in cells within the lungs, and while research on lung stem cell therapies may not only shed light on their causes, it may provide the groundwork for future treatments. Stem cells in the lung Human lungs are hard working organs.  In an average lifetime, human lungs take 20-40 million breaths and experience a daily airflow of between 1,850 and 2,640 gallons.  Human lungs are made up of two distinct regions: The conducting airway tubes, including the trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles.  The gas exchange regions,...

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The History of Research on Adult Stem Cells: We’ve Come a Long Way

adult stem cells

An adult stem cell is an undifferentiated cell, found among differentiated cells in tissue or an organ.  The adult stem cell can renew itself and can differentiate to yield some or all of the major specialized cell types of the tissue or organ. The primary role of adult stem cells in a living organism is to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found. Scientists also use the term somatic stem cell to describe adult stem cells, where somatic refers to cells of the body (not the germ cells, sperm or eggs). Unlike embryonic stem cells, which are defined by their origin (cells from the preimplantation-stage embryo), the origin of adult stem cells in some mature tissues is still under investigation. Research on adult stem cells Research on adult stem cells has...

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How Clinical Trials on Stem Cell Therapies Work, and Where to Find Them

stem cell clinical trials

The most important resource on stem cell clinical trials is registry ClinicalTrials.gov. This registry provides the public with easy access to information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies. The ClinicalTrials.gov web site is maintained by the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. Information (NIH) and is provided and updated by the sponsor or principal investigator of the clinical study. Clinical Trials resources ClinicalTrials.gov was created as a result of the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997 (FDAMA). The site became available to the public in February 2000. This led to the development of the ClinicalTrials.gov results database, which contains study outcomes. Another resource, World Health Organization International (WHO) Clinical Trial Registry Platform, contains some additional information not available in the ClinicalTrials.gov registry. However,...

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What are the potential uses of human stem cells? What obstacles must still be overcome before these potential uses will be realized?

human stem cells uses

There are many ways in which human stem cells can be used in research and in the clinic. Studies of  stem cells continue to yield information about their complex capabilities. A primary goal of this research is to identify how undifferentiated stem cells become the differentiated cells that form the tissues and organs. Scientists know that turning genes on and off is central to this process. Some of the most serious medical conditions, such as cancer and birth defects, are due to abnormal cell division and differentiation. A more complete understanding of the genetic and molecular triggers of these conditions can yield information about how they arise and suggest new strategies to treat them. Predictably controlling cell proliferation and differentiation requires additional basic research on the molecular and genetic signals that regulate cell...

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Mending a Broken Heart and Addressing Diabetes with Adult Stem Cells

stem cells heart disease, mending a broken heart

Researchers are learning about mending a broken heart--that is, how to generate healthy heart muscle stem cells in the laboratory and then transplant those cells into patients with chronic heart disease. Preliminary research in mice and other animals indicates that bone marrow stromal cells, transplanted into a damaged heart, can have beneficial effects. Whether these cells can generate heart muscle cells or stimulate the growth of new blood vessels that repopulate the heart tissue, or help through some other mechanism is actively under investigation. Stem Cell Research: Mending a Broken Heart For example, injected cells may accomplish repair by secreting growth factors, rather than actually incorporating into the heart. Promising results from animal studies have served as the basis for a small number of exploratory studies in humans. Other...

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Stem Cell Research and Stem Cell Therapy: When can stem cells be used to treat patients?

stem cell research

The difference between stem cell research and therapy is in the scientific evidence that supports therapeutic intervention to be beneficial for the patient. Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different types of cells in the body during early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues, stem cells serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the individual is alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. Stem cell research on adult stem cells Stem cells are distinguished from other...

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