Content from our partner OptiStem.

Brain Awareness Week / La semaine du cerveau 2013

Earlier this month we celebrated Brain Awareness Week with a week of brain-related tweets. Brain Awareness Week is the Dana Foundation's global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. As a fair amount of the stem cell research we cover is brain-related, we decided to get behind this celebration of all things brain-related again this year, with a week of brain-centric links, images, videos and more.

We were delighted to have the help  of Christele Gonneau (last seen tweeting her Stem Cell Day), who added a new dimension this year - a day of tweets in French

What to expect from the new Clinical Trials Directive

A specialist discussion event regarding the revision of the EU Clinical Trials Directive (CTD) was held at the European Parliament Information Office in London on the 22nd of February 2013.  This event was initiated by EuroStemCell and OptiStem in collaboration with the European Parliament Office in London and featured OptiStem Principal Investigator, Prof Michele De Luca as a panellist. Read on for a description of the event from Georgina Massouraki and a storify summary of lots of interesting event tweets, put together by Corin Campbell.

Counting down to UniStem Day 2013: the largest stem cell dissemination event in Europe

On March 15th 2013, 15,000 students from Italy and across Europe will get together to participate in UniStem Day 2013. First held in 2009 to connect high school students with researchers, the event continues to grow. For the first time in 2013 it extends beyond Italy to involve 6 Spanish universities (led by Universitat de Barcelona) as well as the University of Edinburgh's MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Scotland. UniStem Day is happening simultaneously at 9AM throughout Europe.

Each participating university will have its own special program of talks from scientists, ethicists, clinicians in the field and hands-on activities in the afternoon, when labs open their doors to show what day-to-day research is like.

Research explained: new 'research spotlights' for patients

Patients have told us they want to know about research: What are scientists studying now? What are they finding out? And how do these findings contribute to progress towards new treatments? Our partner OptiStem, an EU-funded stem cell research project, has been working on a way to help answer these questions.

OptiStem releases interactive Hope Beyond Hype online and makes the graphic story available in FIVE more European languages

To date OptiStem’s successful graphic story ‘Hope Beyond Hype - a story about stem cells from bench to bedside’ has had over 117,000 online readers! We are delighted to now release Hope Beyond Hype in six new versions: French, Italian, Spanish, GermanPolish and interactive.

It was an interesting process working on the translations, especially as the word “hype” has quite different meanings in different languages. Each of the translations has been checked by a native speaking scientist to ensure the text is both scientifically and grammatically correct.

Mesoangioblasts can be derived from reprogrammed cells and may be an effective future treatment for muscular dystrophies


A recent study has shown that muscle stem cells called mesoangioblasts can be grown in the laboratory from induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS cells). Scientists think that mesoangioblasts transplants may be an effective treatment for muscular dystrophy but currently these cells have to be taken from donor who is a tissue ‘match’ for the patient, which is relatively rare.As IPS cells are grown in the lab from a patient’s own muscle cells this could potentially overcome the problem of having to find a ‘matched’ donor.

An overview of stem cells which could be used to regenerate skeletal muscle.


There has been much effort by researchers to understand how skeletal muscle repairs itself and which cells are involved in this process. This article summarises a review by researchers in the group of Professor Giulio Cossu from the Stem Cell Research Institute, University of Milan from January 2010. The review discussed the different types of stem cells which could be used to repair muscles; as well as how therapies using these cells might work.

Relief of Duchenne Muscular dystrophy symptoms in mice using artificial chromosomes


Recently it’s been shown that relief of muscular dystrophy symptoms is possible using stem cells. In Duchenne muscular dystrophy the protein dystrophin normally found in muscles is absent. Scientists of the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan showed that giving muscles in mice the correct 'recipe' for dystrophin (it's gene) meant that the right protein could be produced.

A drug that releases both nitric oxide and ibuprofen improves muscle health and function in mice with muscular dystrophy


Muscle dystrophies are heritable diseases that lead to muscle breakdown, weakness, inflammation, and in severe cases, can result in paralysis and even death. Nitric oxide, normally produced in the body, can activate satellite cells that are able to replace dying fibres with new healthy fibres. However, nitric oxide is not as active as it should be in patients with muscular dystrophy. This study tests NCX 320, a new drug that can release both nitric oxide and ibuprofen (an anti-inflammatory drug).

Basic research discovers new factor important for muscle formation


A scientific publication from Margaret Buckingham’s research group at Institute Pasteur in Paris identified a new factor that is important for the development of skeletal muscle.

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