Tag Archives: stem cells

Your first hug

Most people remember their first kiss but Victorian scientists have discovered that your first hug is much further back than you think.

The arm-like filopodia ‘hug’ the embryo’s cells, squeezing them into shape. Credit: EMBL Australia

Nicolas Plachta and his team at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute have discovered that embryos, when only eight cells in size, develop arm-like structures that ‘hug’ the cells into shape, helping to determine an embryo’s ultimate success.

The study, which was published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, used live imaging and fluorescent markers to capture the action in mouse embryos.

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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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Starving cancer and other stories

Prostate cancers are made up of hungry, growing cells. Now we’ve discovered how to cut off their food supply thanks to a study published in Cancer Research and supported by Movember. More below. Also Australian science discoveries you may have missed from the past week. Heart cells growing in a test-tube – Melbourne How birds [...]

Back to the future for father of biotechnology

He’s back in the lab, working to convert the rich supply of stem cells found in the nose into specialised products to repair nerve damage or replace nerve cells lost in disorders such as hearing loss, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Back to the future for father of biotechnology
John Shine, winner of the 2010 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science. Credit: Bearcage Productions
But that’s just the latest phase in the full and distinguished life of the 2010 winner of Australia’s Prime Minister’s Prize for Science, molecular biologist Prof John Shine.

In 2011, he is stepping down after more than 20 years as executive director of Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research which, under his guidance, has grown to a staff of more than 500, an annual budget of $50 million, and now boasts significant achievements in cancer, immunology, diabetes and obesity, osteoporosis and neuroscience.
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Dairy stem cells a world first

Embryonic stem cells from cattle can now be stored in mass in the laboratory, paving the way for advanced breeding developments in dairy cattle and other livestock.

These new ways of efficiently isolating and maintaining cells provide scientists from Australia’s Dairy Cooperative Research Centre with the raw materials to investigate a range of stem cell applications.

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Womb of life

Womb stem cells could help regenerate a diseased liver.
Womb stem cells could help regenerate a diseased liver.

What if the very thing that assists a fetus to grow in the womb could also prevent disease in a fully grown adult?

Monash Institute of Medical Research scientists have discovered that stem cells from the womb have the potential to treat inflammatory diseases such as lung fibrosis and liver cirrhosis in both children and adults.

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Reading the genome

Marnie Blewitt wants to understand how genes are controlled. Credit: Sam D’Agostino, SDP Photo
Marnie Blewitt wants to understand how genes are controlled. Credit: Sam D’Agostino, SDP Photo

Dr Marnie Blewitt wants to know how a human being is made: how does a single fertilised egg develop into an adult with millions of cells performing a myriad of different functions.

“How does a cell know which of its 30,000 or so genes should be active and which should be dormant?” says Marnie, a researcher at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.

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Rugged electronic tags to track frozen cord blood and stem cells

Tough electronics is needed to track stem cells.
Tough electronics is needed to track stem cells.

Melbourne company bluechiip has invented tracking chips that survive cryogenic temperatures, high temperature sterilisation and irradiation.

Now they’re planning to use the chips to track submissions to cord blood and stem cell banks.

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Breast reconstruction using your own cells

A new approach to breast reconstruction
A new approach to breast reconstruction

Researchers in Melbourne will trial a new procedure to reconstruct breasts in patients following mastectomy. The procedure will use the women’s own stem cells instead of silicon.

Focusing on the treatment and recovery of women with breast cancer, the new technique known as Neopec involves the insertion of a customised biodegradable chamber which is contoured to match the woman’s natural breast shape. The chamber acts as a scaffold within which the woman’s own stem cells are used to grow permanent breast fat tissue.

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