Tag Archives: Cell Biology

* How norovirus gets inside cells: New clues

Norovirus is the most common viral cause of diarrhea worldwide, but scientists still know little about how it infects people and causes disease because the virus grows poorly in the lab. The discovery, in mice, provides new ways to study a virus notoriously hard to work with and may lead to treatments or a vaccine. […]

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Heart muscle made from stem cells aid precision cardiovascular medicine, study shows

Heart muscle cells made from induced pluripotent stem cells faithfully mirror the expression patterns of key genes in the donor’s native heart tissue, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. As a result, the cells can be used as a proxy to predict whether a patient is likely to experience drug-related heart […]

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Hybrid treatment hunts down and kills leukemia cells

Researchers at UC Davis and Ionis Pharmaceuticals have developed a hybrid treatment that harnesses a monoclonal antibody to deliver antisense DNA to acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cells and that may lead to less toxic treatments for the disease. The study, published in the journal Molecular Medicine, demonstrated that once delivered, the therapeutic DNA reduced levels […]

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Shorter telomeres reveal stress in migratory birds

The stress of birds’ continent-spanning annual migrations, it appears, leads to faster aging and a potentially earlier death. A new study in The Auk: Ornithological Advances reveals that telomeres, structures on the ends of chromosomes that shorten with age, are shorter in migratory birds than in their non-migratory counterparts. Migration lets birds take advantage of […]

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Key to regulating cell’s powerhouse discovered

Aging, neurodegenerative disorders and metabolic disease are all linked to mitochondria, structures within our cells that generate chemical energy and maintain their own DNA. In a fundamental discovery with far-reaching implications, scientists at the University of California, Davis, now show how cells control DNA synthesis in mitochondria and couple it to mitochondrial division. The work […]

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Four steps for validating stem cells

Scientists at EPFL and in the US have developed a robust method for characterizing human embryonic stem cells and their potential for medical applications. The key to utilizing stem cells for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering lies in a property of theirs called pluripotency. This refers to the cells’ ability to differentiate into different types […]

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Study shows a new role for B-complex vitamins in promoting stem cell proliferation

The study, published July 11 in Developmental Cell, shows for the first time that an adult stem cell population is controlled by an external factor arising from outside the animal–bacterial folate. In this case, that animal was a small roundworm model organism known as Caenorhabditis elegans.  “Our study shows that germ stem cells in Caenorhabditis […]

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Protein found to bolster growth of damaged muscle tissue

Johns Hopkins University biologists have found that a protein that plays a key role in the lives of stem cells can bolster the growth of damaged muscle tissue, a step that could potentially contribute to treatments for muscle degeneration caused by old age and diseases such as muscular dystrophy. The results, published online by the […]

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* Treating autoimmune disease without harming normal immunity

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Preclinical study shows that engineered T cells can selectively target the antibody-producing cells that cause autoimmune disease. In a study with potentially major implications for the future treatment of autoimmunity and related conditions, scientists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found a way to remove the subset of antibody-making […]

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Unsilencing silenced genes by CRISPR/Cas9

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Scientists have developed a new technique to unleash silenced genes and change cell fates using CRISPR/Cas9. The ability to control gene expression in cells allows scientists to understand gene function and manipulate cell fate. Recently, scientists have developed a revolutionary gene-editing tool, called CRIPSR/Cas9, which employs a system naturally used by bacteria as protection against […]

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Surprising number of businesses selling unapproved stem cell ‘treatments’ in the US

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At least 351 companies across the United States are marketing unapproved stem cell procedures at 570 individual clinics. Such businesses advertise “stem cell” interventions for orthopedic injuries, neurological disorders, cardiac diseases, immunological conditions, pulmonary disorders, injured spinal cords, and cosmetic indications. In Cell Stem Cell on June 30, bioethicist Leigh Turner (@LeighGTurner) and stem cell […]

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Natural metabolite can suppress inflammation

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An international research team has revealed a substance produced in humans that can suppress the pro-inflammatory activity of macrophages — specific immune cells. The substance known as itaconate is released in large quantities by macrophages themselves and according to the scientists, acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. These properties make itaconate promising for the […]

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The relentless dynamism of the adult brain

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Scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS were able to make real-time observations over a period of several months that reveal how new adult-born neurons are formed and evolve in the olfactory bulb of mice. They made the surprising discovery that there is constant structural plasticity in the connections established by these new neurons […]

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New anti-cancer strategy mobilizes both innate and adaptive immune response

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Scientists have developed a new vaccine that involves injecting cells that have been modified so that they can stimulate both an innate immune response and the more specific adaptive response, which allows the body to keep memories and attack new tumor cells as they form. Though a variety of immunotherapy-based strategies are being used against […]

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* Imaging study in mice sheds light on how the brain draws a map to a destination

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Columbia scientists have uncovered a key feature of the brain’s GPS that helps a mouse find what it is seeking. The study enabled scientists to define the precise duties of cells in a particular region of the hippocampus, the brain’s learning and memory center. The research also advances a long-standing quest in the field of […]

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Pituitary tissue grown from human stem cells releases hormones in rats

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Researchers have successfully used human stem cells to generate functional pituitary tissue that secretes hormones important for the body’s stress response as well as for its growth and reproductive functions. When transplanted into rats with hypopituitarism–a disease linked to dwarfism and premature aging in humans–the lab-grown pituitary cells promoted normal hormone release. The study, which […]

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* Stem cells for Snoopy: pet medicines spark a biotech boom

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Many pets are treated like family members — and that is often reflected in the veterinary care that they receive. Little Jonah once radiated pain. The 12-year-old Maltese dog’s body was curled and stiff from the effort of walking with damaged knees. But after Kristi Lively, Jonah’s veterinary surgeon, enrolled him in a clinical trial […]

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* Researchers first to grow living bone that replicates original anatomical structure

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A new technique developed by Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, the Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia Engineering and professor of medical sciences (in Medicine) at Columbia University, repairs large bone defects in the head and face by using lab-grown living bone, tailored to the patient and the defect being treated. This is the first time […]

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Human brain houses diverse populations of neurons, new research shows

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A team of researchers has developed the first scalable method to identify different subtypes of neurons in the human brain. The research lays the groundwork for “mapping” the gene activity in the human brain and could help provide a better understanding of brain functions and disorders, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and depression. By isolating and […]

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* Improving cell transplantation after spinal cord injury: When, where and how?

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Spinal cord injuries are mostly caused by trauma, often incurred in road traffic or sporting incidents, often with devastating and irreversible consequences, and unfortunately having a relatively high prevalence (250,000 patients in the USA; 80% of cases are male). One currently explored approach to restoring function after spinal cord injury is the transplantation of olfactory […]

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Genetic code of red blood cells discovered

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Eight days. That’s how long it takes for skin cells to reprogram into red blood cells. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden, together with colleagues at Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, have successfully identified the four genetic keys that unlock the genetic code of skin cells and reprogram them to start producing red blood […]

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Mobilizing mitochondria may be key to regenerating damaged neurons

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Researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke have discovered that boosting the transport of mitochondria along neuronal axons enhances the ability of mouse nerve cells to repair themselves after injury. The study, “Facilitation of axon regeneration by enhancing mitochondrial transport and rescuing energy deficits,” which has been published in The Journal of […]

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* How brain connects memories across time

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Neuroscientists boost ability of aging brain to recapture links between related memories. Using a miniature microscope that opens a window into the brain, UCLA neuroscientists have identified in mice how the brain links different memories over time. While aging weakens these connections, the team devised a way for the middle-aged brain to reconnect separate memories. […]

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* Stem cells from diabetic patients coaxed to become insulin-secreting cells

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If damaged cells are replaceable, type 1 diabetics wouldn’t need insulin shots. Signaling a potential new approach to treating diabetes, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard University have produced insulin-secreting cells from stem cells derived from patients with type 1 diabetes. People with this form of diabetes can’t make […]

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Zika virus may cause microcephaly by hijacking human immune molecule

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently concluded that Zika virus infection in pregnant women can stunt neonatal brain development, leading to babies born with abnormally small heads, a condition known as microcephaly. Now, for the first time, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have determined one way Zika […]

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* Cells carry ‘memory’ of injury, which could reveal why chronic pain persists

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A new study from King’s College London offers clues as to why chronic pain can persist, even when the injury that caused it has gone. Although still in its infancy, this research could explain how small and seemingly innocuous injuries leave molecular ‘footprints’ which add up to more lasting damage, and ultimately chronic pain. All […]

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Targeted missiles against aggressive cancer cells

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Targeted missiles that can enter cancer cells and deliver lethal cell toxins without harming surrounding healthy tissue. This has been a long-standing vision in cancer research, but it has proved difficult to accomplish. A research group at Lund University in Sweden has now taken some crucial steps in this direction. “For several years, we tried […]

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* Stem cell therapy reverses age-related osteoporosis in mice

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Imagine telling a patient suffering from age-related (type-II) osteoporosis that a single injection of stem cells could restore their normal bone structure. This week, with a publication in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, a group of researchers from the University of Toronto and The Ottawa Hospital suggest that this scenario may not be too far away. […]

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* New hope for spinal cord injuries

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Stem cells have been used successfully, for the first time, to promote regeneration after injury to a specialized band of nerve fibres that are important for motor function. Researchers from Hokkaido University in Japan together with an international team of scientists implanted specialized embryonic stem cells into the severed spinal cords of rats. The stem […]

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Treating myasthenia gravis with autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplants

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A report on seven cases of severe myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune disease characterized by severe muscle weakness) suggests that autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (when a patient’s own stem cells are used) may result in long-term remission that is symptom and treatment free, according to an article published online by JAMA Neurology. The study by […]

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