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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!

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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!