The ability to reliably and safely make in the laboratory all of the different types of cells in human blood is one key step closer to reality. Stem cell researchers now report the discovery of two genetic programs responsible for taking blank-slate stem cells and turning them into both red and the array of white cells that make up human blood.
European scientists are experimenting with bacteria and algae and turn them into bioplastic factories. Their vision: these microorganisms should produce a large portion of our plastic materials without any petroleum.
Injury to the retina and optic nerve leads to irreversible loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and irreparable damage to their axons which ultimately leads to blindness. Providing a sustained source of neurotrophic growth factors is required to promote their survival and regeneration. Transplanted dental pulp stem cells secrete multiple growth factors which protect RGCs from death after optic nerve injury and promote regeneration of their axons.
A breakthrough discovery into how living cells process and respond to chemical information could help advance the development of treatments for a large number of cancers and other cellular disorders that have been resistant to therapy.
With lifesaving applications possible in both inhibiting and accelerating the creation of new blood vessels, a more fundamental understanding of what regulates angiogenesis is needed. Now, researchers have uncovered the existence of a threshold above which fluid flowing through blood vessel walls causes new capillaries to sprout.
Every organism has one aim: to survive. Its body cells all work in concert to keep it alive. They do so through finely tuned means of communication. Researchers have now successfully revealed for the first time the laws by which cells translate signals from their surroundings into internal signals.
Scientists have shown for the first time that stem cells created using different methods produce differing cells. The findings provide new insights into the basic biology of stem cells and could ultimately lead to improved stem cell therapies.
Squid tentacles are loaded with hundreds of suction cups, or suckers, and each sucker has a ring of razor-sharp teeth that help these mighty predators latch onto and take down prey. Researchers report that the proteins in these teeth could form the basis for a new generation of strong, but malleable, materials that could someday be used for reconstructive surgery, eco-friendly packaging and many other applications.
Sea cucumbers change the stiffness of their skin, Venus flytraps roll up their leaves and even pine cones are capable of closing up their scales at increasing levels of humidity. In the course of evolution, Nature has managed to give rise to complex materials capable of responding to external stimuli by way of mechanical movement. Which is exactly what chemists are now trying to do as well - and with considerable success.