By coating tiny gel beads with lung-derived stem cells and then allowing them to self-assemble into the shapes of the air sacs found in human lungs, researchers have succeeded in creating three-dimensional lung "organoids." The laboratory-grown lung-like tissue can be used to study diseases including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which has traditionally been difficult to study using conventional methods.
Researchers found that conditional deletion of Sox2 – the gene encoding the SOX2 stem cell transcription factor – and the associated dampening of astrocyte reactivity appear to promote functional recovery, including behavioral recovery, after traumatic brain injury.
Paralyzed rats implanted with engineered tissue containing human stem cells were able to walk independently and regained sensory perception in their hind legs and tail. The implanted rats also show some degree of healing in their spinal cords. The research demonstrates the great potential of stem cells to treat spinal cord injury.
U.S. health authorities say they will crack down on doctors pushing stem cell therapies that pose the gravest risks to patients amid an effort to police a burgeoning medical field that has received little oversight.
Stem cells in the skin remember an injury, helping them close recurring wounds faster, researchers have found. The discovery could advance research and treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory diseases.