what's the buzz

Stem-cell treatment may cure stroke

A team of researchers has taken an important step towards a treatment for stroke, caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the brain, using stem cells.

The research showed that so-called induced pluripotent stem cells have developed to mature nerve cells at two months after transplantation into the stroke-injured cerebral cortex of rats. These nerve cells have established contact with other important structures in the brain.

Olle Lindvall, senior consultant and professor of neurology and one of the scientists responsible for the study, said that the results are promising and represent a very early but important step towards a stem cell-based treatment for stroke in patients. Following a stroke, nerve cells in the brain die and if these cells could be replaced by new healthy cells, this approach might be developed into a treatment. At Lund Stem Cell Center, Zaal Kokaia’s and Olle Lindvall’s research group is working with the aim to develop a stem cell-based method to treat patients with stroke.

The research group has first reprogrammed skin cells from an adult human to induced pluripotent stem cells and then induced these cells to become mature nerve cells characteristic for the cerebral cortex. By using the method of induced pluripotent stem cells we have been able to generate cells which express those markers which are typical for nerve cells in the cerebral cortex and we have also shown that the new nerve cells are functional, Kokaia said.

Nano-particles to destroy tumour cells

 A new technique will feature nanoparticle-encapsulated substances that could kill off tumour cells selectively.

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP) in Potsdam, Germany, decided to use hydrophobic, water-insoluble lipid vesicles as the tiny, 200-250 nanometer pharmaceutical carriers.

They are biologically degradable and disintegrate in the body after deployment.

Polymers are used to stabilize the nano-envelope, which is furnished with molecules highly specific to and recognized by tumor cells. The envelope of the nanoparticle – experts call it the vesicles – is constructed similarly that of a cell.

The scientists load these carriers with doxorubicin, one of the anti-cancer agents frequently used in chemotherapy. Sodium tetradecyl sulfate (STS), a surfactant, helps the active agent to be absorbed better. The researchers have already been able to prove the efficacy of their approach in laboratory tests.

Violent past of Milky Way’s giant black hole revealed

 Nasa’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has helped find evidence that the normally dim region very close to the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, flared up with at least two luminous outbursts in the past few hundred years.

This discovery comes from a new study of rapid variations in the X-ray emission from gas clouds surrounding the supermassive black hole, a.k.a. Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short.
The scientists showed that the most probable interpretation of these variations is that they are caused by light echoes.

The echoes from Sgr A* were likely produced when large clumps of material, possibly from a disrupted star or planet, fell into the black hole.

Some of the X-rays produced by these episodes then bounced off gas clouds about thirty to a hundred light years away from the black hole, similar to how the sound from a person’s voice can bounce off canyon walls.

Just as echoes of sound reverberate long after the original noise was created, so too do light echoes in space replay the original event.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get the top news in your inbox
GET IT
Comments (+)