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Highlights of current exciting developments, ranging from research papers to court decisions to industry regulations

March 22, 2017

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Past Buzz

March 19,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – p107 and Adipogenic Fate, Heart Failure Therapeutics, Creating PSC-derived Neural Cells, and MMP-controlled AMSC Differentiation!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Adipogenic Lineage Differentiation Requires transcriptional corepressor p107

A new study from the laboratory of Anthony Scimè (York University, Toronto, Canada) has demonstrated, for the first time, that the cell cycle transcriptional corepressor p107, or Retinoblastoma-like 1, determines adipocyte lineage fates for non-committed progenitors via the control of a metabolic checkpoint. This new Stem Cells paper establishes metabolism for lineage commitment and may have further roles in metabolic switches in conditions such as cancer. Interesting stuff!

Biological Therapeutics for Heart Failure

A new review article from the lab of Ioannis Karakikes (Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA) aspires to bring you up to date with “recent advances in cell- and gene-based therapies in the context of cardiovascular disease, emphasizing the most advanced therapies”. Heart failure as a consequence of cardiovascular disease remains a huge clinical problem, so head over to Stem Cells now to find out the current state of affairs and all the “emerging technologies that hold promise to revolutionize the biological therapies for cardiovascular diseases”.

Creating PSC-derived Neural Cells: Simple and Animal Free!

A new study from the laboratory of Slaven Erceg (CIPF, Valencia, Spain) describes a new platform for the simple, efficient, and animal-free neural conversion of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). Their new protocol also does away with embryoid bodies and instead employs adherent culture conditions and human extracellular matrix components. The team hopes that this new protocol will enhance the clinical applicability of hPSC-derived cells; see the details over at Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

MMP-mediated Regulation of Porcine AMSC Endothelial Differentiation

Three-dimensional extracellular matrix barriers remodeling during cell differentiation; however, we currently do not understand the controlling molecular mechanisms. The lab of Devendra K. Agrawal (Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, Nebraska, USA) sought to understand this in the context of porcine adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell (AMSC) differentiation to endothelial cells (ECs). In their new Stem Cells Translational Medicine study, Almalki et al demonstrate, for the first time, that silencing specific matrix metalloproteinases inhibits the cleavage of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor type 2 (VEGFR2) and thereby stimulate the differentiation of AMSCs to ECs. Can we apply this information to boost the re-endothelialization of coronary arteries?

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

March 15,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – Aging ASCs, iPSC-derived Retinal Tissue, Smooth Muscle Repair, and Treating Thalassemia!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Spotting the Signs of Aging in ASCs

While adipose-derived stem cells (ASC) display huge potential for regenerative purposes, we currently understand relatively little about ASC chronological aging. In a new study, researchers from the lab of Ivona Percec (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA) have applied their aging model to human ASCs and have revealed novel chronological aging mechanisms that are inherently different from differentiated cells. See Stem Cells now for all the details.

 

iPSC-derived Retinal Tissue: Ready for the Clinic?

The generation of retinal-pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells or photoreceptor precursors from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) for transplantation purposes requires completely defined conditions for the process to be clinic applicable. Now, researchers from the lab of Olivier Goureau (INSERM, CNRS UMR 7210, Paris, France) have developed a two-step xeno-free/feeder-free culture system to efficiently differentiate hiPSCs into retinal cells. See Stem Cells now for details for a strategy that is “amenable to the development of an in vitro GMP-compliant retinal cell manufacturing protocol allowing large-scale production and banking of hiPSC-derived retinal cells and tissues.”

Smooth Muscle Repair with iPSC-pSMCs

The transplantation of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived smooth muscle progenitor cells (hiPSC-pSMCs) represents a potentially exciting treatment option for stress urinary incontinence (SUI). However, we currently lack an effective strategy for purifying committed cells and removing potentially tumorigenic cells. Now, researchers from the lab of Yan Wen (Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA) have recently described the use of FDA-approved magnetic-activated cell sorting (MACS) employing the CD34 cell-surface marker to restore urethral sphincter function. See Stem Cells Translational Medicine now to see how this strategy may permit the safe stem cell-mediated regeneration of smooth muscle tissues.

Treating Thalassemia with iPSCs and Gene Correction Technologies

A new study from the laboratories of Suparerk Borwornpinyo and Suradej Hongeng (Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand) has demonstrated the combinatorial potential of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) and gene correction technologies. Their new Stem Cells Translational Medicine study describes the correction of a splice defect that causes β-thalassemia by the application of a modified U7 small nuclear (sn) RNA in patient-specific iPSCs. The hope is to differentiate corrected iPSCs into transplantable hematopoietic stem cells as a possible treatment strategy. Cool study!

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

March 9,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – iPSC-ECs and CVD, ARID4B and SSC Niche Formation, CDC Screening, and Homing MSCs!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

iPSC-ECs leave CVD “Quaking” in its Boots?

A new finding from the lab of Andriana Margariti (Queen's University Belfast, UK) has cardiovascular disease (CVD) “quaking” in its boots! The team has recently reported on how the RNA-binding protein Quaking isoform 5 (QKI-5) can enhance the differentiation of endothelial cells from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs-ECs) and boost neovascularization, blood flow recovery and angiogenesis via the stabilization of STAT3 expression and the modulation of VEGFR2 transcriptional activation and secretion. These new findings could represent an exciting means to treat CVD in a patient specific manner; get over to Stem Cellsnow to see all the details.

ARID4B – Master Regulator of SSC Niche Formation

The development and function of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs) requires structural support and signaling stimuli from a niche established by Sertoli cells. The labs of Ray-Chang Wu and Mei-Yi Wu (George Washington University, Washington, USA) set out to understand how Sertoli cells form this niche and now report on their findings in Stem Cells. Interestingly, Wu et al demonstrated that Arid4b, a subunit of the histone deacetylase-dependent SIN3A transcriptional corepressor complex, plays the role of a master regulator in the signaling network behind niche formation.

Screening CDCs to Enhance Personalized Heart Disease Treatment

The expansion of stem cells derived from patient tissues may provide a syngeneic treatment for a range of diseases and disorder. But how can we tell, on a patient-to-patient basis, if the stem cells are up for the job? The lab of Enca Martin-Rendon (University of Oxford, United Kingdom) recently asked this very question in relation to cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs) in the treatment of myocardial infarction. Their new Stem Cells Translational Medicine study demonstrates that therapeutic utility correlated with in vitro vessel formation ability and could allow a more efficient stratification of patients that will benefit and those who may require a different treatment strategy.

MSCs Display Health-based Homing Capabilities

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) demonstrate useful homing abilities towards injured, inflamed, and cancerous tissues. A new study from Xunbin Wei and Zhengqin Gu (Med-X Research Institute and School of Biomedical Engineering, Shanghai, China) now demonstrates that MSCs display different blood clearance kinetics in healthy and tumor mouse models. In their new Stem Cells Translational Medicine study, the team also demonstrates that in tumor models, MSCs move from the bloodstream to the periphery of tumor regions and preferentially infiltrate into micrometastasis.

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

March 4,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? - CVD Therapy Models, MSCs Care for Keratinocytes, Isolating Fetal Stem Cells, and Boosting Clinical Application of hMSCs!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Reviewing CVD Cell Therapy Models

Cell and animal models serve to measure the potential success or failure of cell therapies; however, confounding elements can lead to bias and the loss of preclinical utility. In a new review, the lab of Johannes Boltze (Fraunhofer Research Institution for Marine Biotechnology, Lübeck, Germany) discuss the nature of certain cofounding elements in the context cardiovascular disease (CVD) models, how to improve models, and the possible application of high-quality functional and imaging readout protocols to provide a more holistic assessment of cell therapy. See Stem Cells now for an interesting read!

MSCs Care for Keratinocytes in Altered Microenvironments

A recent Stem Cells study from the lab of Tae-Yoon Kim (Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea) has sought to assess the influence of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) on keratinocytes in altered microenvironments in the context of inflammatory wound research. The team discovered that in conditions of high extracellular calcium, MSCs suppress proliferation and differentiation of keratinocytes in a TGFβ1-dependent manner, involving multiple proximal signaling cascades.

Stay Out, Mom! - Learning how to Isolate Fetal Stem Cells

Culturing fetal mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from the placenta is difficult due to maternal cell contamination. To get round this problem, the lab of Rebecca Pelekanos (University of Queensland, Australia) have “validated a novel isolation procedure comprising focal dissection from the cotyledonary core, collagenase/dispase digestion and explant culture in endothelial growth media that selected, and provided a proliferative environment, for fetal MSC”. See this new Stem Cells Translational Medicine study for all the details on a study that could promote regenerative medicine applications of this utile stem cell source.

 

Lower Costs and More Cells Boosts Clinical Application of hMSCs

The widespread clinical application of human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) currently entails significant labor and monetary costs so many researchers are searching for enhanced culture techniques. The lab of Simon Cool (Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore) have now developed an engineered heparan sulfate variant (HS8) which binds and potentiates FGF-2, a key growth factor pathway that facilitates stem cell expansion. Their new Stem Cells Translational Medicine study suggests that this strategy enhances hMSC proliferation and expansion in a cost-effective manner. Great news!

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

February 28,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – Teleost NE Cells, CSCs and the Tumor Microenvironment, Transplanting iPSC-derived Neural Cells, and Helping RGCs with MSC-Exosome miRNAs!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Neuroepithelial-like stem/progenitor cells: Teleosts Tell All

There is nothing fishy about a new study from the labs of Dambroise Emilie and Joly Jean-Stéphane that discusses neuroepithelial-like stem/progenitor (NE) cells in the teleost Medaka, a fish employed as a vertebrate model! Using 3-dimensional (3D) reconstructions, RNA-Seq, and other techniques, this new study underscores the potential importance of this active stem cell population to studies of neural stem cells and neurodevelopmental diseases. Swim on over to Stem Cells now to see what a catch this paper is!

Gimme Shelter – CSCs and the Tumor Microenvironment

No, this review article does not hail from the Rolling Stones, but instead, has made its way from the team of Edwin M. Horwitz (Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, USA). “Gimme shelter” relates to the protective impact of the tumor microenvironment (TME) in which cancer stem cells are situated. The TME comprises infiltrating immune cells, endothelial cells, extracellular matrix, and signaling molecules and all help to sustain CSC-mediated cancer development. Get over to Stem Cells now for a concise review of how the TME protects CSCs and possible strategies to break through this “shelter” and treat cancer in a more effective manner.

iPSC-derived Neural Cell Transplantation: Playing the Long Game

The differentiation and transplantation of neural cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) aims to provide an effective patient-specific treatment for a plethora of neurological disorders. However, assessing neural cell transplantation in vivo has proved difficult. A new Stem Cells Translational Medicine study from the lab of Lachlan Thompson (Florey Institute for Neuroscience and Mental Health, Victoria, Australia) now demonstrates that transplanted iPSC-derived neural cells “establish extensive patterns of axonal growth and progressively develop functional properties over the course of 1 year after implantation”. The authors note that long-distance neural growth required long-term observations and, therefore, this “long game” may represent an important concept in the design and interpretation of preclinical studies.

MSC-Exosomes help RGCs through miRNAs!

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have recently demonstrated great potential in treating blindness through neuroprotective and axogenic effects on retinal ganglion cells (RGC). A new study from Ben Mead and Stanislav Tomarev (Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA) now suggests that the positive MSC-derived effects rely on microRNA species present in MSC-secreted exosomes. Do MSC-exosomes represent an effective and efficient cell-free therapy for vision loss? See Stem Cells Translational Medicine to find out for yourself!

 

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

February 23,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – Messaging with MSC-EVs, MSCs Feel the Force, Assessing Aging MSCs, and Peripheral Nerve Progenitor Cells and HO!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

MSCs Send mRNA Messages in Extracellular Vesicles

The action of paracrine-acting factors, rather than cell fusion or transdifferentiation, may represent the main driving force behind the success of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) based therapies. A new study from Lorenza Lazzari (Fondazione IRCCS, Milan, Italy) has recently described one paracrine modality that may be of huge importance - extracellular vesicles (EVs). Ragni et al demonstrate that horizontal mRNA transfer through EVs represents an important factor controlling MSCs regenerative capabilities. Cool finding; see all the details in Stem Cells!

Feeling the Force Improves Immunoregulation of MSCs

The mobilization of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) from their niche into the vasculature imposes certain biomechanical forces whose consequences are relatively unknown. A new study from the lab of Pamela L. Wenzel (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, USA) now demonstrates that fluid frictional forces stimulate antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mediators and immune cell-recruiting chemokines. Furthermore, in their new Stem Cells study, Diaz et al confirm that conditioning MSCs with such forces can improve their therapeutic value in a rat model of traumatic brain injury. MSCs really do feel the force!

Assessing aging MSCs to Improve Therapeutic Function

Aging mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) lose therapeutic functionality when compared to their younger counterparts, although the mechanisms behind this loss have not been fully delineated. Towards this goal, researchers from the laboratory of Inés Colmegna (McGill University, Montreal, Canada) have assessed MSCs from elderly patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery and have discovered that MSCs exhibited a pro-inflammatory secretome that reduced their immunosuppressive capabilities. Therefore, the authors suggest that targeting pro-inflammatory cytokines/chemokines produced by MSCs may improve autologous cell-based therapies in the elderly. See Stem Cells Translational Medicine for all the details.

Peripheral Nerve Progenitor Cells Propels Unwanted Bone Formation 

The formation of bone in non-skeletal sites in reaction to injury, also called heterotopic ossification (HO), is poorly understood and lacks treatment options. However, a new study from Alan R. Davis (Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Texas, USA) has revealed that HO occurs thanks to the action of progenitor cells residing within the peripheral nerves in mouse and human. Could this information lead to the construction of new and effective therapies? See Stem Cells Translational Medicine to find out!

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

February 17,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? - HLHS-hiPSCs and NO, Müller Glia Rejuvenation, Cartilage Tissue Engineering, and HCC-CSCs in Cirrhotic Patients!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome-hiPSCs Uncover NO Signaling Deficiency

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) currently suffers from a poorly defined genotype-phenotype relationship, and so the group of Timothy J. Nelson (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA) generated human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from patient samples and then studied cardiovascular cell lineage differentiation. Interestingly, the study established the existence of dysregulated nitric oxide (NO)-dependent Notch signaling in the earliest cardiac specification stages that inhibited hiPSC-cardiomyocyte formation. However, the authors restored cardiogenesis in vitro via the potentiation of NO signaling employing small molecules. See this exciting new study in Stem Cells now!

Müller Glia Rejuvenation by Telomere Elongation

Müller glia play a supportive/protective role in the retina and display immense potential as a cell-based treatment for retinal injury. However, Müller glia suffer the same fate as many in vitro-expanded cells: a loss of function with extended time in culture. The labs of Yongqing Liu (University of Louisville, KY, USA) and Fangtian Dong (Peking Union Medical College Hospital, Beijing, China) now demonstrate that this is due to telomere attrition and that growing cells in 3-dimensional sphere suspension culture avoids/reverses such attrition. See Stem Cells now for all the fine print.

Reviewing Cartilage Tissue Engineering with MSCs

Current strategies to engineer cartilage tissue for the treatment of diseases such as osteoarthritis have employed the mechanical and chemical stimulation of chondrocytes with great success. The lab of Andrea R. Tan and Clark T. Hung (Columbia University, New York, USA) set out to relate this previously amassed swathe of knowledge to cartilage tissue engineering to mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). This Stem Cells Translational Medicine review provides information on the modulation of “stem cell behavior, tissue development and function using well-developed techniques from chondrocyte-based cartilage tissue engineering.” Sounds like a fun read!

EpCAM+ Liver CSCs in HCC in Cirrhotic Patients

Liver cirrhosis often leads to the development of Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) with cancer stem cells (CSCs) thought to represent the cell of origin. A new study from the lab of Nirupma Trehanpati and Shiv Kumar Sarin (Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences (ILBS), New Delhi, India) sought to assess the prevalence and characteristics of EpCAM+-CSCs in advanced cirrhosis in their new Stem Cells Translational Medicine study. Interestingly, cirrhotic patients displayed numerous EpCAM+-CSCs whose tumor-causing potential correlated to increased Wnt signaling. Could this newly delineated mechanism represent a novel means to prevent/treat HCC in cirrhotic patients?

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

February 13,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – Reprogramming Keratinocytes, MSC Immunosuppression Loss, Targeting Gastric CSCs, and SKP-mediated Corneal Regeneration!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Reprogramming Keratinocytes into Neural Crest Cells

Neural crest cells can give rise to a wide range of cells including melanocytes, craniofacial cartilage and bone, smooth muscle, peripheral and enteric neurons, and glia, and so may be of use for regenerative therapies. Now, in a new Stem Cells study, the lab of Stelios Andreadis (University at Buffalo, State University of New York, USA) has demonstrated how FGF2 and IGF1 signaling converts postnatal human epidermal keratinocytes, a common cell type, into neural crest cells that resemble those derived from human embryonic stem cells. Cool study!

MSCs: Losing their Immunosuppressive Potential via IDO

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) display immunosuppressive properties that make them of great interest in the treatment of a wide range of diseases/disorders. However, the in vitro expansion required to reach significant cell numbers leads to replicative senescence and a loss of function. But why?! The lab of Karin Tarte (INSERM U917, Rennes, France) now demonstrates that this loss of function correlates to decreased STAT-1-dependent indoleamine-2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) activity in response to inflammatory stimuli. This is due to specific degradation of IDO, although this new Stem Cells study suggests that proteasome inhibitor treatment may extend MSCs functionality.

Targeting Gastric Cancer Stem Cells with Gamma-Secretase Inhibitor IX

Eradicating cancer stem cells (CSCs) represents a promising strategy to battle many different types of cancer. Many have sought to find drugs that target CSCs, and such a strategy has allowed the lab of Ruben R. Plentz (Medical University Hospital, Tübingen, Germany) to construct a potential treatment for gastric cancers. Specifically, Barat et al demonstrated that gamma-secretase inhibitor IX (GSI) treatment targeted gastric CSCs and inhibited Notch and Wnt-beta-catenin signaling pathways. See Stem Cells Translational Medicine for all the fine print.

Regenerating the Cornea with SKPs

Corneal blindness is currently treated by allogenic corneal transplantation. This treatment option suffers from severe shortages of transplantable material, and so, the lab of Shigeto Shimmura (Keio University, Tokyo, Japan) sought to find out whether skin-derived precursors (SKPs), a neural crest cell type, could be of use. Excitingly, mouse and human SKPs differentiated into cells resembling corneal endothelium and mouse cells transplanted into a rabbit model of bullous keratopathy maintained corneal thickness and transparency. See this great new study over at Stem Cells Translational Medicine now!

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

February 8,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – Blood-brain-barrier Repair, Tumorigenicity links to Epigenetic Instability, MSCs in Lung Transplant Rejection, and Encapsulation of Pancreatic Islets!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

Repairing the BBB with hBMEPCs

Many view the repair of damage to the blood-brain barrier (BBB) associated with ischemic stroke as an innovative target for neurorestoration. Researchers from the labs of Svitlana Garbuzova-Davis and Cesario V. Borlongan (University of South Florida, USA) asked whether transplantation of human bone marrow endothelial progenitor cells (hBMEPCs) may aid BBB repair in a recent Stem Cells study. Garbuzova-Davis et al  found that hBMEPC transplants engrafted well and abrogated stroke-altered vasculature and the study linked these improvements to the preservation of mitochondrial function and augmented pinocytosis, which may represent a new neurorestorative mechanism in BBB repair for stroke.

hiPSC-NS/PCs Tumorigenicity linked to Epigenetic Instability

One of the major problems associated with the transplantation of cells derived from human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) sources is the risk of tumorigenesis. A recent study from the laboratory of Hideyuki Okano (Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan) has employed genome-wide DNA methylation studies to understand how epigenetic alterations influence the tumorigenic nature of oncogenic human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem/progenitor cells (hiPSC-NS/PCs). Their new Stem Cells study suggests that unstable DNA methylation patterns contribute to tumorigenic risk and that their evaluation is important to cells entering into the clinical setting.

First in Man Study of MSCs in Lung Transplant Rejection

Stem Cells Translational Medicine brings us a first-in-man study concerning the treatment of chronic lung transplant rejection (or chronic lung allograft dysfunction [CLAD]) with intravenously delivered allogeneic bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs). This new research, from the group of Daniel C. Chambers (Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia), suggests that the “infusion of allogeneic bone marrow-derived MSCs is feasible and safe even in patients with advanced CLAD.” Great news!

Reviewing Encapsulation of Pancreatic Islets

The transplantation of human islets to cure for type 1 diabetes suffers from one major drawback; host immune rejection. To solve this problem, many have postulated the application of immune protective capsules that allow in oxygen and nutrients but not cells of the immune system. In a recent article in Stem Cells Translational Medicine, the lab of Berit L. Strand (NTNU, Trondheim, Norway) aim to provide us with a review of the current state of the art, strategies to overcome current problems, and new developments in technology. Sounds like a great read!

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!

February 4,2017 What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – MSC Osteogenesis and RANKL, Calcineurin/NFAT signaling in iPSC Generation, Macrophage Polarization, and Targeting Epithelial Cancer Stem-like Cells!

A roundup of some the recent stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells and regenerative medicine

RANKL Mediates Osteogenic Differentiation of MSCs

The lab of Cristina Sobacchi (Humanitas Clinical and Research Institute, Rozzano, Italy) have recently reported on their exciting findings based on studies into autosomal recessive osteopetrosis (ARO), a severe bone disease associated with impaired osteoclast function. In a new Stem Cells study, Schena et al report the identification of the RANKL cytokine as a critical molecule for mesenchymal stromal cell differentiation potential towards the osteogenic lineage in mice. The authors hope that this finding may be relevant for human patients.

 

Calcineurin/NFAT signaling Can Replace Sox2 for iPSC Generation

A new Stem Cells study from Sherif Khodeer and Takumi Era has unveiled previously unappreciated molecular mechanisms involved in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) reprogramming. Their findings indicate an early positive role for calcineurin/NFAT signaling in proper cell cycle division and mesenchymal–epithelial transition and a late negative role in the epigenetic repression of the Sox2 and Klf3 genes. A new level of control and a new target for cancer therapy?

Macrophage Polarization by MSC EVs

The lab of Roberta Tasso (IRCCS AOU San Martino-IST, Genova, Italy) recently aimed to characterize extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by human adipose derived-mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in order to delineate how they modulated inflammation. In their new Stem Cells study, Lo Sicco et al discovered that MSC-EVs switched the polarization of bone marrow-derived macrophages from an M1 classically activated inflammatory state to an M2alternatively activated anti-inflammatory tissue-repair state. Could this represent a cell-free approach to reduce inflammation and promote regeneration?

Reviewing Epithelial Cancer Stem-like Cell Targeting Drugs

A great new concise review has made its way to Stem Cells from the lab of Abdolrahman S. Nateri (University of Nottingham, UK)related to drugs targeting cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) in epithelial cell-derived cancers. In their words - Increasing evidence suggests that cancer cell populations contain a small proportion of cells that display stem-like cell properties and which may be responsible for overall tumor maintenance. These CSCs appear to have unique tumor-initiating ability and innate survival mechanisms that allow them to resist cancer therapies, consequently promoting relapses. Selective targeting of CSCs may provide therapeutic benefit and several recent reports have indicated this may be possible.” Sounds like a great read!

So that’s a wrap for this week! Please let us know your views on all the stories we have covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz, and please let us know if we have missed anything interesting! Happy reading!