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Stem cell research: From molecular physiology to therapeutic applications
Date:7/29/2009

Academy of Medical Sciences is Executive Director of the National Center for Stem Cell Research. His group has taken stem cell therapy into phase II clinical trials in China, and is the leading runner in stem cell therapeutics. They have identified a mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) population from human fetal bone marrow and found that these cells could differentiate not only into osteogenic, adipogenic and endothelial lineages, but also hepatocyte-like cells, and neural and erythroid cells. They remained in some tissues and organs during gestation and could give rise to different kinds of pluripotent stem cells and thus could potentially contribute to self-repair and self-renewal of tissues and organs. They generated cells not only for the damaged tissues in which they reside, but also for damaged tissues at other locations in the body via migration triggered by proinflammatory cytokines and growth factors. The potential use of MSCs in tissue regeneration has been shown in several models, including skin, muscle, lung, heart and the small intestine. MSCs have emerged as a promising therapeutic modality for tissue regeneration and autoimmune disease, although the mechanisms underlying the immune-modulatory effects of MSCs have not yet been clearly defined. In this review, Professor Robert Zhao summarizes the current literature on the complex mechanism of MSCs' immune modulation and clinical studies, and discusses future directions for utilizing MSCs for clinical treatments[2].

Professor Hongkui Deng from Peking University is working on the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into pancreatic beta cells to treat diabetes. He is one of the two winners in China of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's "Grand Challenges in Global Health". He obtained $1.9 million for his proposal to use stem cells to create mouse models for testing HIV and hepatitis C vaccines. Professor Deng has written a summary of recent progress in human embryonic and inducible pluripot
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Contact: Li Jiyuan
ljy@scichina.org
Science in China Press
Source:Eurekalert

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