Hematopoietic stem cell transplants may provide long-term benefit for people with MS (Jan 20, 2021)
Intense immunosuppression followed by HSC transplant has been used as a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Results from these treatments indicate that in 71% of patients undergoing this process will not experience worsening symptoms post-immunosuppression and MSC transplant. This does not mean that their symptoms will automatically go into remission, which some patients in the study experienced, but that post-transplant their symptoms will not worsen. The study looked at healthy blood stem cell transplants to replace diseased cells in 210 patients with MS who received transplants of this kind from 1997 to 2019. Timepoints of the study were 6 months, 5 years, and 10 years post-transplant of MSCs. The hallmark of the study was the 71% number of patients who experienced no worsening of disabilities even after the 10 year time-point.
Development of new stem cell type may lead to advances in regenerative medicine (Dec 3, 2020)
A group of researchers primarily led by UT Southwestern has concocted a new “intermediate” embryonic stem cell type. They developed this from multiple animal species that have been documented as successfully producing chimeras. They used this technology to create precursors to sperm and eggs in a culture dish. In the study detailed, researchers were able to create intermediate PSCs from mice, horses, and humans. The results indicate the potential for developments in reproductive medicine and evolutionary biology.
Two anti-viral enzymes transform pre-leukemia stem cells into leukemia (Feb 2, 2021)
The renewal nature of cancer stem cells can make them hard to eradicate in metastatic tumors. Researchers at UC San Diego have been working to uncover the steps that turn pre-cancerous and normal cells into cancerous cells and what biochemical switches may exist there. Recently, they uncovered two enzymes capable of transforming non-leukemia cells into leukemia cells. The enzymes are called APOBEC3C and ADAR1 and are activated by inflammation.
FGF23 hormone from red blood cell precursors promotes hematopoietic stem cell mobilization (Jan 29, 2021)
Erythroblasts producing fibroblast growth factor-23 have been shown to cause stem cells to home to peripheral blood domains. Previously, the growth factor has been known to be involved in playing a role in the kidneys to regulate phosphate concentrations in the body. Now, however, researchers have demonstrated that the cytokine, which is produced by bone-embedded osteocytes, was reactive and increased in level when stimulated by G-CSF. When G-CSF was administered there were low levels of oxygen inside the bone marrow as well as large levels of inflammation. [Jeremiah note: I’ve read lots of studies that actually show that reducing oxygen levels post injury results in expedited healing process and homing of stem cells, which leads me to believe that oxygen deprivation is part of the inflammation chain that activates stem cell homing and may be one of “beacons” in the signaling process.]
Scientists discover new pathway essential for blood formation (Feb 2, 2021)
The tip60 pathway has now been shown to be essential in hematopoietic stem cell upkeep. When the protein is knocked out, certain genes will turn off and these stem cells, along with their DNA, will degrade and become dysfunctional. In comparison, when the gene is upregulated, more of the stem cells are produced in response to overactive genes activating certain pathways. This is especially imperative in understanding diseases like Leukemia, which can result from total deprivation of the Tip60 protein.
Reversing aging in the eye (Dec 18, 2020)
Scientists have developed a gene therapy to reverse age-related loss of vision along with glaucoma in mice and are hoping to translate that research into human trials. The treatment involves a reversal of factors to recreate the conditions of younger cells in the eye, specifically the retina, to create youthful gene function. This is the first evidence of being able to reprogram complex tissues, such as the nerve cells of the eye, to an earlier age. Researchers have also been able to reverse damage caused by glaucoma in mice. This is a new development compared to previously only being able to halt its progression. The team achieved this by only delivering three of the four Yamanaka factors shown to restore youthful methylation patterns.
Link to science article for this study because I think it’s super exciting: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2975-4
Stem Cells to the Nose Restore Mice’s Ability to Smell (May 30, 2019)
*just found but I’m following this line of research because it seems very promising*
Precursors to smell-sensing neurons are called globose basal cells and are engrafted into the nose. These mature into nerve cells and form axions which connect to olfactory parts of the brain. Mice were given nose drops containing these, which were found to engraft and produce cells that formed neurons and regenerated the ability to smell in mice which had lost it. The hurdle to translating this to human research is finding the specific cells which are responsible for the upstream line in forming olfactory cells, which is still unknown in humans.