Navigation Links
Sweet news for stem cell's 'Holy Grail'

Scientists have used sugar-coated scaffolding to move a step closer to the routine use of stem cells in the clinic and unlock their huge potential to cure diseases from Alzheimer's to diabetes.

Stem cells have the unique ability to turn into any type of human cell, opening up all sorts of therapeutic possibilities for some of the world's incurable diseases and conditions.

The problem facing scientists is how to encourage stem cells to turn into the particular type of cell required to treat a specific disease.

But researchers at the University of Manchester's School of Materials and Faculty of Life Sciences have developed a web-like scaffold, coated with long-sugar molecules, that enhances stem-cell cultures to do just this. The scaffold is formed by a process known as 'electrospinning', creating a mesh of fibres that mimic structures that occur naturally within the body.

The team's results presented in the Journal of Biological Chemistry - are particularly promising, as the sugar molecules are presented on the surface of the fibres, retaining structural patterns important in their function. The sugars are also 'read' by the stem cells grown on the surface, stimulating and enhancing the formation of neuronal cell types.

Lead author Dr Catherine Merry, from Manchester's Stem Cell Glycobiology group, said: "These meshes have been modified with long, linear sugar molecules, which we have previously shown play a fundamental role in regulating the behaviour of stem cells. By combining the sugar molecules with the fibre web, we hoped to use both biochemical and structural signals to guide the behaviour of stem cells, in a similar way to that used naturally by the body. This is the Holy Grail of research into developing new therapeutics using stem cell technology."

The group anticipate that the combination of the sugar molecules with the fibre web will aid both the growth of stem cells and the formation of different cell types from the stem cell population.

Possible applications include tissue engineering, where the meshes could support cells differentiating to form bone, liver or blood vessels, for example. The meshes also have potential therapeutic implications in the treatment of diseases such as multiple osteochondroma (MO), a rare disease creating bony spurs or lumps caused by abnormal production of these sugar molecules.

Co-author Professor Tony Day, from Manchester's Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell-Matrix Research, said: "This cross-faculty collaboration provides exciting new possibilities for how we might harness the adhesive interactions of extracellular matrix to manipulate stem cell behaviour and realise their full therapeutic potential."

Contact: Aeron Haworth
University of Manchester

Related biology news :

1. New American Chemical Society video highlights 5 of chocolates sweet benefits
2. New and revised standards for omega-3s, natural sweeteners and other food ingredients proposed
3. Sweet new approach discovered to help produce metal casting parts, reduce toxicity
4. Synthetic biofilter wins through to the top Sweet 16 in Boston
5. Pink Lemonade, Razz, Sweetheart, and Caras Choice: superb blueberries from ARS
6. Sugar-sweetened drinks are not replacing milk in kids diets
7. How sweet it is: Tomato researchers discover link between ripening, color and taste
8. Scientists find bone-marrow environment that helps produce infection-fighting T and B cells
9. Engineering cells for more efficient biofuel production
10. Bone marrow cells used in bladder regeneration
11. Why cells stick: Phenomenon extends longevity of bonds between cells
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... Calif. , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant Solutions ... has joined its Board of Directors. ... Board after recently retiring from the partnership at TPG ... 107 companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  He ... improvement across all the TPG companies, from 1997 to ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 2015   Growing need for low-cost, easy ... been paving the way for use of biochemical ... analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and defense ... in medical applications, however, their adoption is increasing ... continuous emphasis on improving product quality and growing ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... JOSE, Calif. , Nov. 9, 2015  Synaptics ... human interface solutions, today announced broader entry into the ... vehicle-specific solutions that match the pace of consumer electronics ... and biometric sensors are ideal for the automotive industry ... vehicle. Europe , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , November 30, 2015 TapImmune, ... the development of innovative peptide and gene-based immunotherapeutics and ... today announced it will be presenting at the 8 ... 1, 2015 at 2.30 PM PT. Dr. John ... Advisor will be giving the presentation and will join ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... and MAGDEBURG, Germany , November 30, 2015 ... in Vienna, Austria to be ... of NeuroRehabilitation (ECNR) in Vienna, Austria ... NovaVision, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vycor Medical, Inc. ("Vycor") ... its Internet-delivered NovaVision Therapy Suite at the 3rd European ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... • Jeon Jin Bio Corp, a ... rodent control solutions , Bird Free, an ... across all sensory modalities including visual, smell, taste and touch, enabling safe, effective avian ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... Accutest Research Laboratories, a leading independent ... (CRO), has formed a strategic partnership ... Temple Health for joint work on ... ) , --> ...
Breaking Biology Technology: