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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!

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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!