In three separate and novel studies, researchers have demonstrated a new technique that could determine a hitch in stem cell research for application in regenerative medicine.
Dr. Kostas Kostarelos at Nanomedicine Lab at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom (UK) said that he along with his colleagues had discovered a secure approach to reprogram somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. A somatic cell is generally taken to mean any cell forming the body of an organism and it is any cell of a plant or an animal other than a germ cell. This procedure gives a substitute to the not much appreciated method involving embryonic stem cells.
He explained: “We have induced somatic cells within the liver of adult mice to transiently behave as pluripotent stem cells.
Kostarelos and his team have determined that their technique does not share the risk of uncontrolled stem cell growth into tumors as seen in in vitro, viral-based methods, by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka’s reprogramming methods, which won him the Nobel prize in 2012 .“ This the only experimental technique to report the in vivo reprogramming of adult somatic cells to pluripotency using non-viral, transient, rapid and safe methods,” Kostarelos said.
The Nanomedicine Lab’s approach involves infusing hefty volumes of plasmid DNA to reprogram cells which make it safer because of short life span of DNA, the risk of uninhibited growth is reduced.
The research group chose to publish their technique with JoVE as a way to stress the originality, uniqueness and effortlessness of their procedure.
According to the study published in PLOS ONE , researchers in the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute have planned and tested a new, minute-long process to prepare human amniotic membrane to apply as a scaffold for specialized stem cells that may be used to treat some corneal diseases. This membrane serves as a foundation that supports the growth of stem cells in order to graft them onto the cornea.
Corneal blindness affects more than eight million people worldwide. Corneal Blindness is a visual impairment that occurs from the cornea becoming clouded, affects the transparency of cornea, making a person blind. It encompasses a range of eye diseases, injuries or infections that damages the corneal tissues leading to permanent blindness an causes can be Deficiency of Vitamin A, the aftereffects or viral, fungal or bacterial infections, Congenital disease. Corneal blindness is a major problem, treated first and foremost by corneal transplants.
The amniotic cell removal method created at Cedars-Sinai takes less than one minute and make certain virtually complete amniotic cell removal and preservation of amniotic membrane components, and also supports the overall growth of various stem and tissue cells.
PhD, director of the Eye Programme at the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute. “This new method may provide a better method for researchers, transplant corneal surgeons and manufacturing companies alike.”
Meanwhile, scientists have created minuscule 3D kidney structures from human stem cells.
Investigators from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California say the mini-kidney structures could open new avenues for studying the development of kidney disease and lead to the creation of new drugs that target the condition.
Scientists used mouse embryonic kidney cells (red) to ‘coax’ human stem cells to turn into early-stage uretic buds – early structures of the human kidney.
The details were published in the journal Nature Cell Biology. The study demonstrate that pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) can be altered into cells similar to those found in the uretic bud – a structure found in the early development of kidneys and can then be made into 3D structures through organ culture.
A patient diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD) was use by the investigators for testing their method on iPSCs and discovered that they were able to craft the whole 3D kidney structures from these patient-derived cells.
Earlier this year, Medical News Today reported on the construction of mini-brains grown from stem cells.