Ongoing research  with stem cells have uncovered a new cell called the F class because of it’s fuzzy appearance.  Scientists hope to harness them in new treatments for ailments involving tissue damage and cell loss, from spinal injury and macular degeneration to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes and blood and kidney diseases. Research has been at a fast pace since the beginning of this year and will continue well into the new year.- MDA

By John Ross

SCIENTISTS have identified a previously unknown type of stem cell, raising hopes of a new source of personalised tissue and organ transplants.

The discovery, announced this morning in two of the world’s top journals, brings the world closer to a new era of ­regenerative medicine in which currently incurable illnesses are conquered using patients’ own cells.
The “F-class” cell, named for its “fuzzy-looking” appearance, is considered a potential prototype for the mass production of therapeutic stem cells to treat a huge range of illnesses and injuries. It was uncovered by Project Grandiose, a four-year collaboration of almost 50 researchers on four continents, including 15 Australians. The team has published its findings in two papers in the journal Nature and three in sister publication Nature Communications.
The project’s aim was to map the molecular processes involved in the generation of “induced pluripotent stem cells” — ordinary adult cells reprogrammed into stem cells capable of developing into any type of ­tissue. The technique astonished the world when it was demonstrated in 2006, and earned its inventor Shinya Yamanaka the 2012 Nobel prize for medicine.
IPSCs are an alternative to the ethically thorny harvesting of embryonic stem cells. Scientists hope to harness them in new treatments for ailments involving tissue damage and cell loss, from spinal injury and macular degeneration to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, diabetes and blood and kidney diseases.
In theory, therapists will generate repair tissues and replacement organs from the patients’ own cells.
Australian National University biologist Thomas Preiss said the only direct clinical application so far was a clinical trial of a treatment for age-related macular degeneration, currently underway in Japan.
Professor Preiss, who co-authored four of the papers, said there were three broad challenges in realising the “pie in the sky promise” of regenerative medicine. “The first is to understand the reprogramming process well enough molecularly so that we can make it efficient,” he said. “Another (is to devise) a safe process in (which) the cells cannot go rogue in the patient. That’s important because stem cells are quite similar in some ways to tumour cells. The third challenge is to be sure that the cells you put back in the patient integrate in the right spot.”
Read more: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/health-science/new-stem-cell-opens-door-to-regeneration/story-e6frg8y6-1227151900134?nk=f6213ed6c7bc8d3e05d3803b32546d3e
Source: The Australian News

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