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Scientists further the decoding of stem cells


Researchers from the Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital in Dresden have found that pancreatic islet cells and neural stem cells interpret signals in their surrounding environment in a very similar way. These findings may make it possible to manipulate stem cells in a way that will repair tissue damage and stimulate the regeneration of cells.

Neural stem cells are able to differentiate into a large variety of mature cells. They are able to hibernate for long periods of time and can multiply at a fast rate. They are a highly flexible cell that scientists are only beginning to understand.

Studies such as this one have shown the importance of stem cells in the future of humanity and possible medical treatments. Stem cells can be harvested in a pain-free manner from a child’s naturally shed baby teeth. These stem cells can be stored in a tooth bank for the child and may be used in an ever increasing variety of medical treatments.

Stem cells from the patient ensure that the body will not reject the transplant and the patient will not have to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of their life.

All cell types have signal pathways, and these are used to sense the surrounding environment and react to it. The cells appear to speak the same “language”, but they all react to it in different ways. The researchers from Dresden have found a possible way of using a “dialect” that the neural stem cells understand, which may help them to “talk” the cells into regenerating damaged tissue.

This “dialect” is not only used by stem cells but is also used by other cells that are capable of regenerating tissue, such as the pancreatic islet cells. This is of particular importance in diabetes research and possible treatments.