Stem cell research: updates and commentary on research findings

Research spotlights

Scientific research papers, summarized for non-scientists.

Reconstructing the brain: approaches to treating Parkinson’s disease

Dr Malin Parmar and colleagues concisely describe in an ACNR review efforts over the past 30 years to develop a treatment for Parkinson’s disease patients that replaces destroyed nerve cells in the brain. Many different approaches are being taken, from brain cell transplants to using pluripotent stem cells. Now, a technology called ‘direct neural conversion’ can be added to the arsenal of tools researchers are using.

Learning to build a heart from the cells up

Perhaps it’s no surprise that cells are very diverse in their shapes and functions. Even stem cells have diverse needs and environmental conditions depending on what types of cells they make in the body. This diversity can make studying some stem cells particularly difficult, such as cardiovascular/heart stem cells

Autism research using mini-organs grown from patient derived stem cells

Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental disorder whose causes are not fully understood. Recent work by scientists at Yale University has shown that organoids – miniature three-dimensional organ buds – grown from stem cells could help shed some light on autism spectrum disorder (ASD).