Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Improving the body’s powers of regeneration

01.02.2016

Stem cells can both trigger and cure diseases. During the past five years, the National Research Programme "Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine" (NRP 63) has investigated their potential.

Diabetes, heart attacks, cartilage replacement, wound healing, brain tumours, Parkinson's disease: twelve research groups working on the National Research Programme "Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine" (NRP 63) have examined various diseases. They have studied the way in which stem cells contribute to their development or can be used to provide better treatment for these conditions in future.


Stem cells can both trigger and cure diseases. During the past five years, the National Research Programme "Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine" (NRP 63) has investigated their potential.

The Federal Council mandated the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to carry out NRP 63 in 2007. The aim was to explain the fundamental mechanisms of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, train young researchers and promote leading-edge technology in Switzerland. The results of the research done between 2010 and 2015 have been compiled in a brochure that was published recently (link below).

Tumours from stem cells

"NRP 63 has produced a large number of extremely interesting results," concludes Bernard Thorens, President of the NRP 63 Steering Committee. "This is borne out by the hundred-plus publications that have appeared in scientific journals, some of which are very prestigious.

The quality of the individual projects is also demonstrated by the fact that practically all of them are continuing beyond the end of NRP 63." A total of 24 postdocs and 12 doctoral students were trained during the programme. Several groups are already in touch with biotech and pharmaceutical companies that are interested in utilising their results for the good of patients in the future.

The research groups looked at the important role played by the regulations of stem cells. The development of a stem cell into a blood cell, for example, is not controlled exclusively by genes. There are also overriding control mechanisms capable of switching several genes on and off at once. These have to be taken into account by developers of new medicines.

Research also focused on how tumours develop from stem cells. Two teams were able to show that the major danger does not arise from the stem cells themselves, but from immature intermediate forms that change back into stem cells and then go on to develop into tumours. "It's important to recognise the difference between benign and malignant growth," says Lukas Sommer, a professor at the University of Zurich and leader of one of the NRP 63 projects. "Stem cells can only be used in medicine if we are able to control their growth."

Replacing body parts

The group working with Pedro Herrera at the University of Geneva discovered that in mice the cells of the pancreas have an amazing capacity for transformation. If all the insulin-producing cells have been destroyed, they can develop again from related cells in the pancreas. This discovery could revolutionise the treatment of diabetes. Instead of injecting insulin, it may one day be possible to stimulate the patient's own cells to produce it.

In another project, the group working with Ralph Müller at ETH Zurich developed a new material to replace human cartilage. This nanocellulose could be used to reconstruct the visible outer part of the ear or to treat damaged knee cartilage. Populating it with cells from the patient would promote the development of natural tissue. The new material has already been tested in animals.

Most of the scientific publications generated by the twelve research projects are available to the public free of charge (link below).


NRP 63 in brief

The National Research Programme "Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine" (NRP 63) promoted basic research, recruited talented individuals from developmental and cell biology, trained young scientists and increased the visibility of Swiss research in the international arena.

The Federal Council mandated the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) to carry out NRP 63 and awarded it a budget of CHF 10 million. Between 2010 and 2015, twelve research groups based in Basel, Berne, Geneva, Lausanne and Zurich investigated new approaches to the treatment of various diseases.

Contact details

Prof. Bernard Thorens
President of the NFP 63 Steering Committee
University of Lausanne
Tel.: 021 692 39 81
E-mail: Bernard.Thorens@unil.ch

Florian Fisch
Science editor
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
Wildhainweg 3
3001 Berne
Tel.: 031 308 23 75
E-mail: florian.fisch@snf.ch

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.snf.ch/en/researchinFocus/newsroom/Pages/news-160201-press-release-nr...
http://www.nfp63.ch/en/Pages/Home.aspx Website of NRP 63 "Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine"

Media - Abteilung Kommunikation | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: NRP SNF cell biology stem cells tumours various diseases

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ultrathin device harvests electricity from human motion

24.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists announce the quest for high-index materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

ADIR Project: Lasers Recover Valuable Materials

24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>