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What’s the Stem Cells Buzz this Week? - Megakaryocyte Production, Radiation-induced Fibrosis Treatment, Ocular Surface Reconstruction, and Oncolytic Viruses!

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The Stem Cells Portal brings you a roundup of some of the new and exciting stories in the ever-changing world of stem cells, regenerative medicine, and beyond!

Gas-Permeable Surfaces Enhance Megakaryocyte Production

Challenges related to storage and fluctuating supply have limited donor‐based platelet transfusions for patients suffering from acute or sustained thrombocytopenia. Researchers led by Andres F. Martinez and William M. Miller (Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA) hoped to develop cell‐culture technologies that will enable ex vivo and donor‐independent platelet production at a scalable and therapeutically relevant level. Now, the team's new STEM CELLS Translational Medicine article reports the development of a gas‐permeable culture surface with fed‐batch media dilution schemes for the generation of megakaryocytes (platelet-generating cells) from blood stem and progenitor cells that increased expansion of megakaryocytes progenitors and enhanced megakaryocytes production compared to traditional techniques.

Deciphering how Adipose Stem Cell Treatment Mitigates Radiation-induced Fibrosis

Radiation therapy for the treatment of cancers to the head and neck, chest wall, and extremities can lead to the development of radiation-induced fibrosis (RIF), a disorder which currently lacks treatment options. Now, researchers led by Peter J. Rubin (University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA). Ejaz et al. have studied disease development in detail in a mouse model of RIF and demonstrated how treatment with adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell (ASCs) improves limb movement and skin epithelium architecture post-irradiation with a critical role observed for the secretion of hepatocyte growth factor. For more details, see STEM CELLS now!

Urea-Treated Amnion for Ocular Surface Reconstruction

Currently employed epithelial denudation protocols limit the application of human amniotic membrane (HAM) as a growth substrate for conjunctival cells for ocular surface reconstruction due to the elevated costs and times required, as well as the potential for the structural compromise. Now, a new study from the laboratory of Jodhbir S. Mehta (Singapore Eye Research Institute) reports on a new approach: de‐epithelialization of HAM employing ice‐cold urea (uHAM). Bandeira et al. describe this method in a new STEM CELLS Translational Medicine study and highlights the translational potential of this efficient and inexpensive method to prepare de‐epithelialized HAM as a basement membrane scaffold for cell‐based tissue‐engineered treatments of ocular surface disorders.

Targeting Cancer Stem Cells with Oncolytic Viruses

Cancer stem cells (CSCs) self‐renew and differentiate to generate heterogeneous cancer cell lineages in solid tumors and are associated with metastasis, tumor relapse, and resistance to anti‐cancer therapies. A recent review from the research group of Ragunath Singaravelu (University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) focused on the application of oncolytic viruses (OVs) to target CSCs and the OV‐driven production of interferon in the tumor microenvironment that can repress CSC properties. In particular, Crupi et al. highlight the advantages of virally‐encoded bi‐specific T cell engagers (BiTEs) to CSC target cell‐surface markers and tumor‐associated antigens on contributing components of the TME and other cancer cells and the crucial role of combination anti‐cancer treatments, evidenced by the synergy of OV‐delivered BiTEs and chimeric‐antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy. For a fascinating read, head over to STEM CELLS now!

That’s a wrap for now! Please feel free to leave a comment and discuss the papers covered here on the Stem Cells Buzz. Happy reading!