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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!