Stem cell research: updates and commentary on research findings

Research spotlights

Scientific research papers, summarized for non-scientists.

Unique technology combination pinpoints the genetic signature of a blood stem cell

Although all the cells in a colony of blood cells may look alike, they may have different functions.  Tools to track and analyse individual stem cells within a cell population like this can help us better understand how the blood system works, and may have implications for cancer research.

New clues into how stem cells get their identity

Scientists at DanStem, the Danish Stem Cell Centre, University of Copenhagen have identified one mechanism that explains how some stem cells choose to become a given cell type: the cells combine specific sets of proteins at precise positions along the DNA. When these particular groups of proteins are combined, the gates are opened so that certain groups of genes can now be used, driving the cells towards a new identity.

Researchers discover back door into the cell

Researchers at the Hubrecht Institute and Utrecht University have developed a revolutionary and effective way of introducing molecular tools into cells. According to Dr. Niels Geijsen, who headed the research team, this discovery brings us one step closer to treating genetic diseases:

“The difficulty of treating genetic (inherited) diseases is that we, thus far, are unable to safely transport large therapeutic compounds, for example, proteins, into cells,” explains Geijsen. “ With our new technology, we’ve found that we can do this very efficiently.”