Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sweet news for stem cell's 'Holy Grail'

Date:
February 26, 2013
Source:
Manchester University
Summary:
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.

Neural projections (green) formed from mouse embryonic stem cells cultured on the scaffolds with the sugars attached.
Credit: Image courtesy of Manchester University

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."

The study was funded by the Medical Research Council and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Human Frontiers Scientific Programme.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Manchester University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. K. A. Meade, K. J. White, C. E. Pickford, R. J. Holley, A. Marson, D. Tillotson, T. H. van Kuppevelt, J. D. Whittle, A. J. Day, C. L. R. Merry. Immobilization of Heparan Sulfate on Electrospun Meshes to Support Embryonic Stem Cell Culture and Differentiation. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2012; 288 (8): 5530 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.423012

Cite This Page:

Manchester University. "Sweet news for stem cell's 'Holy Grail'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130226081014.htm>.
Manchester University. (2013, February 26). Sweet news for stem cell's 'Holy Grail'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130226081014.htm
Manchester University. "Sweet news for stem cell's 'Holy Grail'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130226081014.htm (accessed July 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Tooth Plaque Provides Insight Into Diets Of Ancient People

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Research on plaque from ancient teeth shows that our prehistoric ancestor's had a detailed understanding of plants long before developing agriculture. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

Contaminated Water Kills 3 Babies in South African Town

AFP (July 18, 2014) Contaminated water in South Africa's northwestern town of Bloemhof kills three babies and hospitalises over 500 people. The incident highlights growing fears over water safety in South Africa. Duration: 02:22 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins