Stem cell research: updates and commentary on research findings

Research spotlights

Scientific research papers, summarized for non-scientists.

Treating Huntington’s disease: making new neurons is not enough


Many researchers and clinicians believe that stem cells will one day be used in regenerative medicines to treat many injuries and diseases, including Huntington’s disease (HD). Researchers think that nerve cells that die in HD patients may be able to be replaced with new healthy neurons made from stem cells. Scientists are already able to use stem cells to create nerve cells similar to those lost by HD patients.

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