Adult Stem Cell World News Highlights

SFLF is pleased to share some recent developments happening around the world in the field of regenerative medicine:

  • Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have identified a way to enhance regrowth of human corneal tissue to restore vision, using a molecule known as ABCB5 that acts as a marker for hard-to-find limbal stem cells. The research, published in Nature, is also one of the first known examples of constructing a tissue from an adult-derived human stem cell. This work comes from a collaboration between the Massachusetts Eye and Ear/Schepens Eye Research Institute (Mass. Eye and Ear), Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the VA Boston Healthcare System, and provides promise to burn victims, victims of chemical injury and others with damaging eye diseases.
    (Source: Massachusetts Eye & Ear news release 07/02/14)
  • A new study conducted by the Goethe-University in Frankfurt Germany, with Justus-Liebig University (Giessen, Germany), Harvard Medical School and Mass. Eye and Ear shows that piral ganglion stem cells in the inner ear are capable of self-renewal. Spiral ganglion cells are essential for hearing, and their loss is the most-common reason behind hearing problems. The team conducted studies on mice models and found that the inner ear stem cells can be grown in a lab, and can be induced to differentiate into mature spiral ganglion cells, neurons and even glial cells, which could pave the way for newer treatments for people suffering from hearing loss. The study is published in the journal BioResearch Open Access.
    (Source: 06/21/14)
  • UCLA researchers have identified a link between stem cell regulation and the development of lung cancer. Their study explains how factors that regulate the growth of adult stem cells that repair tissue in the lungs can lead to the formation of precancerous lesions. Findings from the three-year study could eventually lead to new personalized treatments for lung cancer, which is responsible for an estimated 29% of U.S. cancer deaths, making it the deadliest form of the disease. The study was published online in the journal Stem Cell.
    (Source: UCLA news release 06/19/14)
  • Johns Hopkins researchers say they have created a three-dimensional complement of human retinal tissue which includes functioning photoreceptor cells capable of responding to light, the first step in the process of converting it into visual images. The achievement, described as “a miniature human retina in a dish” emerged from experiments with human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). The work was reported online in Nature Communications, and holds the potential to advance vision-saving research and may ultimately lead to technologies that restore vision for people with retinal diseases.
    (Source: Johns Hopkins School of Medicine news release 06/10/14)
  • Scientists from Queensland University of Technology in Australia are working on turning bone marrow stem cells into neural stem cells, capable of repairing the damage caused by strokes, head injuries and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. The research, published in Developmental Biology, offers hope that damaged brain cells could be replaced by other adult stem cells, long deemed impossible because most brain cells do not divide and replicate. The researchers note that treatments based on such an approach are still years away, but are excited in the shortterm to offer proof that simple manipulations can influence stem cells.
    (Source: 06/02/14)
  • The Irish Medicines Board has granted license to the Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland at NU Galway to manufacture culture expanded adult stem cells for human use in clinical trials. The Galway stem cell research site is the first of its kind in Ireland and one of only six licensed in Europe. The new facility will play a crucial part in ensuring adult stem cell research in the country will remain internationally competitive by securing funding from EU sources, in turn representing a valuable opportunity to stimulate job and economic growth in Ireland’s medtech sector and making Ireland a good location for adult stem cell research and clinical trials.
    (Source: 05/12/14)
  • Researchers at the University of Southampton are working to create tailormade micro-environments to foster stem cell regeneration by using clay gels both to explore the biological signals necessary to successfully control stem cell behavior for regeneration and also to provide stem cells with signals to stimulate regeneration in the body. The approach will first be applied to regenerate bone lost to cancer or hip replacement failure with potential to be applied to harness stem cells for the treatment of a whole host of different scenarios, from burn victims to those suffering with diabetes or Parkinson’s.
    (Source: University of Southampton news release 05/01/14)