Author: Stem Cells Daily

Anticancer Drugs Treat Acute Liver Failure

The human liver has a remarkable ability to regenerate after moderate injury, but can’t self-repair after sudden, severe damage, which in western regions such as the U.S. is most commonly caused by either accidental or intentional paracetamol (acetaminophen) overdose. In such cases of acute liver failure, recovery is unlikely and without a liver transplant the patient will almost inevitably die. Studies headed by a research team at the Cancer Research U.K. Beatson Institute and Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, now suggest that a class of drug that is in development for treating cancer could represent a life-saving option for acute liver failure. Their studies in human tissues and in mouse models found that after severe injury, a signaling pathway mediated by transforming growth factor–ß (TGFß) pitches hepatocytes into a state of senescence, or permanent growth arrest, which stops the cells from...

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Blind Mice See after Gene Factors Stimulate Genesis of Rod Photoreceptors

We’re already familiar with the three blind mice, but we never hear about blind zebrafish. Perhaps that’s because zebrafish have admirably flexible retinal stem cells called Müller glia (MG). In zebrafish, these cells can replenish damaged retinal neurons and restore vision. In mice and other mammals, however, Müller glia usually refuse to differentiate into retinal neurons. Sometimes they do, to a limited extent, in response to injury, which raises interesting questions: Could Müller glia be activated by less drastic means, and could these cells even serve, potentially, as a way to reverse blinding diseases? To answer these questions, scientists based at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai tried using genetic factors to stimulate the regenerative machinery in Müller glia. The scientists succeeded in changing Müller glia into rod photoreceptors. The scientists also reversed congenital blindness in mice. Detailed findings appeared August 15 in the journal...

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Magnetic gene in fish may someday help those with epilepsy, Parkinson’s

An aquarium fish that senses the Earth’s magnetic field as it swims could help unlock how the human brain works and how diseases such as Parkinson’s and other neurological disorders function. Scientists have discovered a navigational gene in glass catfish called the electromagnetic-perceptive gene, or EPG, that responds to certain magnetic waves. They’ve already developed a way to use it to control movement in...

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