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What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? – Hippo and Muscle Stem Cells, MSC Treatment of Neurodegeneration, Boosting Bone Repair, and Teratoma Treatment with EBRT!

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

How Hippo Handles Skeletal Muscle Stem Cells

The Hippo pathway members Yap and Taz control cell proliferation and regeneration, and the lab of Peter Zammit (King's College London, UK) recently sought to decipher their role in skeletal muscle stem cells. Sun et al. now demonstrate that both Taz and Yap promote myoblast proliferation, but following this, Taz switches roles and promotes myogenic differentiation. For all the interesting details, click your way to STEM CELLS now!

Reviewing MSC Treatment of Neurodegeneration

The many positive characteristics of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has made them a focal point for many cell-based therapies for a broad range of diseases and disorders. A new concise review from Rotem Volkman and Daniel Offen (Rabin Medical Center, Israel) now summarizes current developments in MSCs-based therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Additionally, the duo “examine the roles of central mechanisms suggested to mediate the beneficial effects of MSCs-based therapy and consider the augmentation of these mechanisms for superior clinical outcomes in rodent models of neurodegeneration as well as in clinical trials.” See STEM CELLS for a fascinating read!

Stem Cell Construct Boosts Natural Bone Repair Process

Endochondral ossification represents the body's natural bone repair process, and a recent study from the lab of Eben Alsberg (Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA) sought to boost this process employing human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells embedded with bioactive microparticles. Their new STEM CELLS Translational Medicine article delineates how MSCs under the influence of TGF-β1 and BMP-2 enhanced healing of critical-sized calvarial bone defects within four weeks. Good news!

Treating Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Teratomas with EBRT

While the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) to a milieu of therapeutically useful cell types holds great potential, there still exists a risk of differentiation resistant PSCs forming teratomas in patients. A recent study from Patricia K. Nguyen and Joseph C. Wu (Stanford University, California, USA) assessed the application of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) to treat any tumors that way occur. In STEM CELLS, Lee et al. now suggest that this strategy can successfully eliminate teratoma and can be applied to reduce the reseeding potential of teratoma cells during serial transplantation experiments, and thereby increase the safety of stem cell-based therapies.

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!