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Coming soon: Cell therapies for diabetes, cancer?
Date:3/19/2008

proliferation properties of stem cells, allows scientists to work on methods of inducing adult stem cells to differentiate into pancreatic cells.

We are trying to design and develop a subcutaneously implant bag-type of BAP, said Dr. Kobayashi. In tests on animal models, subcutaneously implanted BAPS have shown excellent induction of new blood vessels.

Alternative ways of circumventing the short supply of viable human pancreatic islet tissue by allowing storage of cells are also being explored.

Freezing islet cells to save them

Cryopreservation (freezing) of pancreatic islet cells from non-heart beating donors has been studied in animal models. Studies have shown that islet structure was well maintained after thawing, although the number of islets decreased. Techniques for freezing human islet cells from non-heart beating donors are being developed with an emphasis on evaluating the thawed islet morphology, possible contamination and quality of endocrine function.

Cancer stem cells: Key to a cure?

Researchers have proposed that cancer cells, like normal cells, include stem cells that are able to differentiate.

Many questions surround this proposal, observes Dr. Kobayashi. For example, do cancer stem cells exist in all cancers? Have normal stem cells become malignant, though mutation or some other process? What are the markers for cancer stem cells? Are cancer stem cells resistant to existing treatments?

Current research is aimed at not only answering these questions, but also whether reducing the number of stem cells may lead to a reduced cancer risk.

Tamoxifen, used to successfully prevent primary breast cancer, works by reducing the number of stem cells, comments Dr. Kobayashi.

Researchers speculated that if a substance specific to cancer stem cells can be discovered, cancer will be able to be detected at an earlier stage. However, even if cancer has been successfull
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Contact: Naoya Kobayashi
immortal@md.okayama-u.ac.jp
81-862-357-485
Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair
Source:Eurekalert

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