stem cells

In the future, we won’t need men to reproduce. Or women.

Grow-your-own kids. Just add stem cells.

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Stem cells used to grow bones

In a medical first, stem cells have been used at a Cincinnati Chidren’s Hospital in the US to regrow the cheekbones in a 14 year-old boy. The stem cells came from his own body. The technique, which took over two years to develop, uses a combination of fat-derived stem cells, donated bone scaffolds, growth protein and bone-coating tissue.

While stem cells are traditionally used to patch up the heart or strengthen arteries, this procedure was used to treat Treacher Collins Syndrome, a genetic defect that resulted in the young patient missing some of his facial bones.

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Neural Stem Cells Don't Need to Be Surgically Implanted: You Can Just Snort Them

When surgeons need to deliver a payload directly to a patient's brain, it usually involves a rather invasive procedure that opens the skull and leaves the delicate grey matter inside inflamed. But researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered that patients with brain maladies can simply snort stem cells through the nose and directly to the brain, offering an effective and fast alternative to complicated neuro-surgical procedures.

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Freckles and Flab Make Better Stem Cells Than Skin

In a development sure to give Eric Cartman some conflicted feelings, a pair of studies have found that cells taken from freckles or fat cells produce stem cells faster, and with a higher success rate, than more commonly used skin cells.

Currently, scientists create stem cells from regular skin tissue, in a lengthy and inefficient process. Only one in 10,000 skin cells succeeds in transforming into a pluripotent stem cell, and it takes a month for that transformation to occur. Both the fat cell and the freckle cell experiment improve on those numbers.

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Scientists Morph Human Skin Cells Into Retinal Cells

In a stem-cell breakthrough, scientists have illuminated a new way forward in treating diseases of the eye: turning skin cells into eye cells

The retina is a lush layered field of tissue lining the back of the eye, a complex mix of specialized cells that serve as a transfer station where light signals are absorbed and sent to the brain to be translated into sight.

Researchers from University of Wisconsin, Madison have now created these unique retina cells from lowly skin cells -- opening the possibility that patients with damaged or diseased retinas might some day be able to grow themselves a cure from their own skin.

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Stem Cells Used To Grow a New Tooth Inside a Mouse's Mouth

Just the sound of a dentist's drill is enough to send most people into a panic. Add to that the awful inconvenience of walking around for a day with half your face numb, and it's easy to see why getting a cavity filled or a tooth replaced is one of life's most annoying chores. Fortunately, some new research may make the common drill-and-fill a thing of the past.

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Engineering Adult Stem Cells to Cure Blind Mice

Researchers at the University of Florida claim to be the first to use targeted gene manipulation to take adult stem cells and change them into another kind of cell completely. They changed the stem cells, from bone marrow in this instance, into retinal cells. These retinal cells, when injected into blind mice, helped cure their blindness.

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Scientists Create Mice from Reprogrammed Skin Cells

Chinese research bypasses the need for controversial embryonic stem cells

Chinese scientists have created live mice from mature skin cells that had reverted to an embryonic-like state. The scientific success could further defuse controversy over harvesting embryonic stem cells, but also raises new ethical issues about potentially making clones selected for specific traits.

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NIH Issues New Stem Cell Research Guidelines

New rules allow for creation of new stem cell lines, and the use of older lines

As one of his first acts as president, Barack Obama dismissed former-president Bush's rules governing the federal funding of stem cell research. And on Monday, the National Institute of Health issued its new set of replacement guidelines.

The new rules overturn the ban on creating new cell lines, establish a registry of stem cell lines approved for federally funded research, and create a system where stem cell lines approved under previous guidelines can petition for federal funding under the new regime.

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Blood Stem Cells To Treat Chemo Patients May Reverse Alzheimer’s

Having used stem cells to reverse Alzheimer’s in mice, researchers prepare to trial the cure on human sufferers

Researchers at the University of South Florida and James A. Haley Hospital have found that a human growth factor that stimulates blood stem cells to proliferate in the bone marrow reverses memory impairment in mice genetically altered to develop Alzheimer's disease. The researchers hope to use their findings to find a way to reverse the memory-crippling disease in humans.

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Want a bigger brain? Go exercise!

Well actually, it’s not that simple. But exercise does stimulate stem cell growth in the brain.

UQ neuroscientists have, for the first time, been able to demonstrate that moderate exercise significantly increases the number of neural stem cells in the ageing brain.

In research published in Stem Cells, Dr Daniel Blackmore and his colleagues at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) have shown that moderate exercise directly increases the number of stem cells in the ageing brain.

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Artificial Microlungs Grown on Chips

Microlungs grown from human lung tissue could replace animal testing. The's breathing

Microlung: savior to rats labs-wide  via New Scientist
Rats used for testing drugs and cosmetics might soon be replaced by lab-grown human lungs. “Microlungs” are lung cells harvested from humans and grown onto plastic scaffolding. A handful of drug companies are already testing the technique, which grows cells that mimic functioning lungs. It may one day help end the need for animal testing stages in drug development.

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Stem-Cell-Coated Contact Lenses Are Curing the Blind

Regeneration of damaged tissues due to corneal disease begins in as few as two weeks

Researchers in Australia have come up with an outwardly simple but incredibly ingenious way of curing blindness caused by corneal damage: Take everyday contact lenses, already used by millions (including me), and infuse them with a patient's own stem cells. After wearing them for about 2 weeks, test subjects reported a seemingly miraculous restoration of sight. Is it that easy?

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The Essential Guide to Stem Cells

Everything you need to know about the hottest topic in 
medicine, from big-league breakthroughs and new therapies to emerging health risks and the patients willing to take them

For more than a decade, researchers have touted stem cells as the most promising advance in medicine since antibiotics. And this winter, when President Obama lifted the Bush administration's ban on federal funding for embryonic-stem-cell research, talking heads buzzed that his decision could bring scientists that much closer to cures — not just treatments — for conditions like heart failure, spinal-cord injuries and Alzheimer's disease. Biologists around the world toasted their new prospects with champagne. "Lifting the ban will free us up to use additional cell lines," says Jack Kessler, director of the Feinberg Neuroscience Institute at Northwestern University. "It's very important for science."

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The Embryonic Debate

Need funding for embryonic stem cell research? The National Institutes of Health say they’ll only fund projects that use IVF embryos created specifically for reproduction

Over the past decade or so, seeking federal funding for embryonic stem cell research has been a little like slamming one’s head into a brick wall. Funding was banned all together in 1996, and then President Bush loosened the ban slightly (some say negligibly) by allowing funding for embryonic stem cell lines created before August 2001. Yet, this past March, the barricade seemed to be crumbling when President Obama gave an executive order to remove the ban. But wait, all you stem cell researchers. Not so fast.

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