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Insight into the processes of 'positive' and 'negative' learners

type for the patient," Dr McGuckin said. "Using cord blood gets over that obstacle because we can produce more stem cells and, with a global birth rate of 100 million babies a year, there is a better chance of getting the right tissue type for the many patients out there waiting for stem cell therapy. There is also far less likelihood of such cells being rejected when they are transplanted into people with liver disease, for example."

The team has taken its first steps towards proving its claims by growing defined liver tissue using the new cell type. By making use of special NASA-derived technology, the team is able to cultivate greater numbers of cells in equipment mimicking the effects of space microgravity. "Using Synthecon's bioreactors, originally designed by NASA, means the cells are able to expand faster, giving us a greater supply to work with," Dr Forraz said. "This system provides more cells for more tests, so we have the potential to make significant progress in applying the new cells to cure difficult to treat conditions such as juvenile diabetes, stroke, heart and liver disease."

Dr Urban who chairs UTMB's Internal Medicine department and serves as director of its Stark Diabetes Centre said he looked forward to the next phase of what was proving to be a fruitful collaboration. "We plan to use this technology to engineer pancreatic tissue as we work towards our goal of developing a cure for type 1 diabetes," he added.

The team's report will be published in the Cell Proliferation Journal on 18 August.


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