Can signal neighbor cells to repair
A study published in the October 8 issue of Science describes a previously unsuspected capacity of embryonic stem cells to influence neighboring defective cells and restore their capacity to function normally. Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center report that 15 embryonic stem cells injected into early embryos of mice whose hearts were genetically predisposed to develop a lethal defect, rescued the heart from developing the disorder by not only producing normal daughter cells that were incorporated into the defective embryonic heart but also by releasing biological factors into the nearby vicinity. This prevented neighboring heart cells from developing into defective tissue.
"In other words, stem cells act like nurses, restoring ’sick’ cells to health" said Robert Benezra, Ph.D., a Member in the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the study’s senior author. "The result was that fifty-percent of the mice fated to die in the womb were born with healthy hearts."
Joanne Nicholas | EurekAlert!
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