The concept of stem cell therapies has existed for decades including the transplantation of bone marrow stem cells for patients with multiple myeloma and leukemia. However, controversy has arisen and persists in regards to the use of stem cells from human embryos. Due to the debates and ethical concerns with the use of human embryonic stem cells, new research is uncovering possible alternatives, such as induced pluripotent stem cells (stimulation of a patient’s own cells to behave as embryonic stem cells).
Gene editing technology along with stem cells helped scientists develop a miniature scale kidney
In the past, researchers already developed complex kidney structures using stem cells. Now, the main aim of kidney tissue engineering is to develop new therapies to repair kidney damage and thus reduce the need for dialysis and transplantation. Recently, scientists at University of Washington in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) have grown mini-kidneys in the laboratory . The ex-vivo kidney could be used to study abnormalities in kidney development, chronic kidney disease, and the effects of toxic drugs on acute and chronic kidney conditions.
Scientists used humanized mice to demonstrate the differential immunogenicity of cells derived from autologous induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs)
The discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has been considered as one of the groundbreaking findings in the history of life science research. This innovation has changed the direction of stem cell research around the world and may represent an ideal cell source for future regenerative therapies. But the fact that iPSCs are derived from an individual’s own body does not eliminate the possibility of immune rejection completely. A research group at UC San Diego previously reported that abnormal gene expression may elicit the immune system to reject certain cells derived from iPSCs.
Scientists created a tiny heart in the lab using stem cells
Stem cell research is continuously evolving and will likely become more and more effective in the near future. Researchers are continuously making efforts to grow stem cell-based organs in the lab using 3D modeling. Developing patient-specific organs to replenish degenerated organs or to screen drugs is a Holy Grail for the revolutionary tissue engineering field.
Scientists have developed a method to track transplanted stem cells in the brain
Stem cell therapies have emerged as promising therapeutic options for treating many degenerative diseases including neurodegenerative diseases. The neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the progressive degeneration of neurons. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Huntington’s disease are the most prevalent examples of neurodegenerative disorders. A variety of stem cells, including pluripotent embryonic stem cells, multipotent adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) have been utilized as therapeutic agents to treat many neurological disorders.