Tag Archives: regenerative medicine

Fighting stroke damage

A drug based on a molecule naturally present in infants – but which declines in adulthood – can halve the scarring in brains of those who have suffered stroke. And it can be delivered up to a week afterward.

The drug developed by James and Leon minimises the amount of scarring after the wound has been stabilised. Credit: Leon Teo
Enlarged cell bodies (pink), with increased scar-forming (green) following stroke. Credit: Leon Teo

“We hope our work will improve the recovery of the elderly, as well as people in rural and remote communities, who haven’t had access to speedy treatment following a stroke,” says Associate Professor James Bourne at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI ), and Chief Investigator of the research.
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Head to tail: the molecules that tell you how to grow a backbone

Growing the right number of vertebrae in the right places is an important job – and scientists have found the molecules that act like ‘theatre directors’ for vertebrae genes in mice: telling them how much or how little to express themselves.

Edwina and her team were able to visualise the formation of the skeleton, using stains for bone (red) and cartilage (blue). Credit: Edwina McGlinn
Edwina and her team were able to visualise the formation of the skeleton, using stains for bone (red) and cartilage (blue). Credit: Edwina McGlinn

The finding may give insight into how the body-shapes of different species of animals evolved, since the molecules under scrutiny are present in a wide range of animals – ranging from fish to snakes to humans.

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Making blood on demand

‘Buddy’ cells that trigger blood stem cells to fully-develop have been discovered by a team of Australian scientists. The finding, in zebrafish, may hold the key to creating blood on demand in the lab.

Everyday medical procedures can require litres of donated blood; and blood stem cells – which can turn into any one of the different types of blood cell – are often used in treatments for leukaemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers.

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Axolotls out on limb for future human hope

An axolotl’s ability to regrow limbs and repair brain and heart tissue could shed light on how humans might one day do the same, after Melbourne scientists discovered the key role played by macrophages, immune system cells, in the animal’s regenerative process.

Axolotls are known for their ability to regrow limbs.

James Godwin and his colleagues at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) have identified the critical role of macrophages in axolotl tissue regeneration, raising the hope of future treatments for human spinal cord and brain injuries, as well as heart and liver disease.

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Stem cell memory to help tailor regenerative medicine

A Melbourne scientist is harvesting the memory found in reprogrammed adult cells to develop cell therapy techniques that have the potential to cure a number of diseases.

iPS cells expressing a green fluorescent protein indicating the reactivation of the Oct4 pluripotent gene. Credit: Jose Polo

Jose Polo, of Monash University, has found that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells don’t lose all their memory after reprogramming, flagging the possibility that a better understanding of these stem cells will aid regenerative medicine.

“Basically an iPS cell derived from muscle is more likely to reprogram back into muscle cells, while iPS cells derived from skin will generate skin cells,” says Jose. “And this could influence what type of iPS cell you might choose to generate a specific cell type.”

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