Engineering Stem Cells: From In Vitro to In Situ


Engineering Stem Cells: From In Vitro to In Situ

Stem cells are a valuable cell source for tissue engineering, disease modeling and drug screening. A recent discovery in stem cell biology is that differentiated cells can be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and desired cell types. Although the effects of transcriptional factors and chemical compounds have been widely studied, the role of biophysical factors on cell reprogramming is not clear. Dr. Li will present his findings on how biophysical factors can regulate the epigenetic state and thus the cell memory and reprogramming process, which has important implications in cell conversion into iPSCs and specific cell types. To illustrate the important role played by stem cells in tissue regeneration and remodeling in vivo, Dr. Li will use blood vessel regeneration as an example to demonstrate an evolution from in vitro tissue engineering to in situ tissue engineering approach. In this approach, endogenous stem cells are recruited by the use of bioactive scaffolds to promote tissue regeneration. In addition, endogenous stem cells are also involved in the regeneration of microvessels and the development of vascular diseases, suggesting a general role of stem cells in vascular remodeling.

Stem Cells Show Promise in Reducing Hardening of the Arteries

Durham, NC – The medical world is excited about the potential that stem cells have demonstrated in aiding the recovery of patients who have suffered a heart attack. Now, a new study appearing in the January issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine indicates that stem cells may also benefit those who suffer from hardening of the arteries.

Hardening of the arteries – or atherosclerosis – occurs due to a buildup of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls. The arteries become hardened by fibrous tissue and calcification and, as the plaque grows, it clogs the artery tubes, reducing the oxygen and blood supply to the affected organ. If the artery becomes severely blocked, it can cause death of the tissue fed by the artery and lead to a heart attack or stoke.

Cardiac Stem Cell Therapy May Heal Heart Damage Caused by Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute have found that injections of cardiac stem cells might help reverse heart damage caused by Duchenne muscular dystrophy, potentially resulting in a longer life expectancy for patients with the chronic muscle-wasting disease.

The study results were presented today at a Breaking Basic Science presentation during the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Chicago. After laboratory mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy were infused with cardiac stem cells, the mice showed steady, marked improvement in heart function and increased exercise capacity.

Remotely controlled magnetic nanoparticles stimulate stem cells to regenerate better, denser bone

Durham, NC – In a recent study published in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, scientists have found what they believe might be a better way to regrow bone tissue using magnetic nanoparticles coated with targeting proteins that stimulate stem cells to regenerate the bone. They also were able to deliver the cells directly to the injured area, remotely control the nanoparticles to generate mechanical forces and maintain the regeneration process through staged releases of a protein growth factor. These findings might someday have significant impact for anyone suffering from a major bone trauma, disease or defect.

The gold standard for repairing bone that can’t heal itself is a graft taken from the patient. Unfortunately this is a painful, invasive procedure, plus there are times when the area that needs repair is too massive or the patient has a skeletal disorder so has no healthy bone for grafting. That’s why spurring the growth of new bone through injected stem cells is an area of great interest to medical researchers. Much progress has been made to this end, but a major hurdle remains – finding an appropriate means by which to stimulate the differentiation of the stem cells so they become the quality of bone tissue needed in a quantity large enough to treat patients effectively.

Utilizing Oral Mucosa Stem Cells for the Prevention and Treatment of Ischemic Heart Failure

Lecture by Dr. Yosef Gafni, PhD, DMD

TechKnow: Banking cord blood to save lives

This Saturday, July 19th at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT (Repeats 10:30P ET/7:30P PT), Al Jazeera America’s “TechKnow” shows us one of the most exiting areas of medical research – how umbilical cord blood is being used to treat brain disease and injury.

“Techknow” host and mechanical engineer Dr. Shini Somara takes us inside Duke Children’s Hospital, where a team of doctors is treating young Grace Matthews, an infant with hydrocephalus, or water on the brain, characterized by the tell-tale swelling of the baby’s head. We go behind-the-scenes on the high-tech experimental treatments, as doctors infuse Grace with stem cells from her own umbilical cord, and we meet another young patient who experienced “miraculous” progress from the use of umbilical cord stem cells.

Survey: Americans Favor Expanded Cord Blood Stem Cell Research

SAN BRUNO, Calif., July 10, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Far from being sharply divided, the American people are in broad support of more stem cell research, according to the results of an online survey released today by Cord Blood Registry® (CBR®) to coincide with National Cord Blood Awareness Month.

The poll included responses from 1,130 individuals to reveal: their belief in the need for continued research to rapidly bring stem cell therapies to the clinic; their level of awareness and understanding of umbilical cord blood as a source of stem cells; and their familiarity with the use of cord blood stem cells in established and experimental therapies.

The survey found that nearly 9 of 10 Americans either agree or strongly agree that further research should be conducted to investigate the potential of stem cells to stimulate the body’s own repair mechanisms to heal tissues or organs. In addition, the survey results indicate that more than 75% of Americans are aware of stem cell research to develop more effective treatments for conditions and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, brain injury, and cancer. The survey also shows that 8 in 10 Americans believe in the medical benefits of stem cell research and would like to learn more about therapeutic strategies which augment, repair, replace or regenerate organs and tissues.

Advancing Toward Multiple Sclerosis Therapies Using Stem Cells

Dr. Tom Lane of the University of Utah (formerly a CIRM grantee at UC – Irvine) describes his lab’s experimental results that show a dramatic reversal in the debilitating effects of a multiple sclerosis (MS)-like illness in mice after treating them with human neural stem cells. After just two weeks, the mice—who had previously been unable to walk or even feed themselves—had regained basic motor skills. And six months later the improvements have only continued.

For more info about the California stem cell agency’s MS research funding, visit fact sheet: http://go.usa.gov/84sP

Muscle paralysis eased by light-sensitive stem cells

Stimulating neurons with light can restore movement to paralysed mouse muscles – a step towards using “optogenetic” approaches to treat nerve disorders. Click link for full story: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25358#.U0gIcK1dXpE

A Changing View of Bone Marrow Cells

Caltech researchers show that the cells are actively involved in sensing infection.

RESEARCHERS SEPARATE BLOOD STEM CELLS FROM OTHER BONE MARROW CELLS AND LOAD THEM ONTO A NEW MICROFLUIDIC CHIP. FLUORESCENT SIGNALS INDICATE THE PRESENCE OF SECRETED PROTEINS WITH ONE "BARCODE" REPRESENTING EACH CELL.

RESEARCHERS SEPARATE BLOOD STEM CELLS FROM OTHER BONE MARROW CELLS AND LOAD THEM ONTO A NEW MICROFLUIDIC CHIP. FLUORESCENT SIGNALS INDICATE THE PRESENCE OF SECRETED PROTEINS WITH ONE “BARCODE” REPRESENTING EACH CELL.

In the battle against infection, immune cells are the body’s offense and defense—some cells go on the attack while others block invading pathogens. It has long been known that a population of blood stem cells that resides in the bone marrow generates all of these immune cells. But most scientists have believed that blood stem cells participate in battles against infection in a delayed way, replenishing immune cells on the front line only after they become depleted.

Now, using a novel microfluidic technique, researchers at Caltech have shown that these stem cells might be more actively involved, sensing danger signals directly and quickly producing new immune cells to join the fight.

“It has been most people’s belief that the bone marrow has the function of making these cells but that the response to infection is something that happens locally, at the infection site,” says David Baltimore, president emeritus and the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology at Caltech. “We’ve shown that these bone marrow cells themselves are sensitive to infection-related molecules and that they respond very rapidly. So the bone marrow is actually set up to respond to infection.”