New clinical applications in regenerative medicine are motivating an intense interest in easily accessible sources for producing human stem cells. The 2007 breakthrough showing that induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) could be generated directly from adult cells has been a boon to the industry. Since that time, there has been a steady refinement of the cell culture techniques that guide the cell reprogramming process.
The Prkci gene maintains the stem cells homeostasis in the adult body
One of the striking features of stem cells is their ability to make copies of themselves whenever it is required, a property known as 'self-renewal'. This process keeps cell division under control, which is required for continuous regeneration in the human body. It is very important to keep proliferation under check; otherwise, an excess of symmetric division can lead to teratoma formation, but also an insufficient number may inhibit the repair and maintenance of the body. In a nutshell, stem cells play a very crucial role in maintaining the homeostasis of the adult body.
Stem cells were instrumental in creating new functional diaphragm
The diaphragm is a one of the vital organs of the body; it is responsible for several important functions including its very critical role in respiration. During the process of breathing, the diaphragm contracts to add volume to the thoracic cavity, which enables the lungs to make room for more air. It also separates the thoracic and abdominal cavities. The malfunction of the diaphragm can lead to several life threatening conditions, which can be acquired or congenital. Congenital diaphragmatic hernias (CDH) are one of the most common birth defects (1:2500) caused by a malformation, or hole, in the diaphragm.
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.
Researchers study alternatives to bone marrow-derived stem cells for post-heart attack tissue repair
Stem cell-based therapy is emerging as a promising modality to rejuvenate a dying heart after heart failure, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Largely, clinical trials have used bone marrow-derived stem cells to improve the cardiac performance in ailing hearts. Unfortunately, bone marrow-derived stem cells could not help patients with this devastating disease except for very minor temporary improvements, which generally go away with the time.