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Stem Cells


Latest significant advancements in stem cell research. Reporting on the far-reaching impacts of stem cell research on society and humanity.

Transdifferentiation Can Create An Endless Supply of Brain Cells—And Fast

Cellular reprogramming is like the fairytale of spinning straw into gold: you take an abundant, mundane cell type, dose it with a cocktail of chemicals, and voilà—now you have an unlimited supply of therapeutic...

Pioneering Stem Cell Trial Seeks to Cure Babies Before Birth

Even before she was born, Elianna Constantino had already cheated death. Elianna has a rare inherited blood disorder called alpha thalassemia major, which prevents her red blood cells from forming properly. The disease, which has...

In Landmark Study, Human Stem Cells Restore Monkeys’ Movement After Spinal Cord Injury

Stem cell therapy is highly attractive in its intuitive simplicity: you clean out injured cells, plop down a gang of healthy replacements, sit back, and wait for the body to heal itself. For spinal cord...

Cancer Vaccines May Overhaul Cancer Therapy in the Next Decade

The term “silver bullet” gets tossed around a lot, but cancer vaccines are just that. Unlike the flu vaccines that we’re familiar with, cancer vaccines are slightly different in that they don’t just seek...

The Dream of Regenerating the Body With Stem Cells Is Alive and Well

To Bob Hariri, the body is a machine. Hariri is a surgeon, entrepreneur, and biomedical scientist. But perhaps it’s his time flying jets that most strongly lends itself to such thinking. “I’ve been flying longer...

Breakthrough Stem Cell Study Offers New Clues to Reversing Aging

What causes the body to age? The Greek Philosopher Aristotle thought it was the heart—a “hot, dry” organ at the seat of intelligence, motion and sensation. Fast-forward a few centuries, and the brain has overthrown the...

Limitless Lab-Grown Blood Is ‘Tantalizingly Close’ After 20 Years

Blood stem cells are things of wonder: hidden inside each single cell is the power to reconstitute an entire blood system, like a sort of biological big bang. Yet with great power comes greater vulnerability....

Bizarre Mini Brains Offer a Fascinating New Look at the Brain

Brain balls sound like something straight out of a Tim Burton movie: starting as stem cells harvested from patients, they eventually develop into masses of living neurons, jumbled together in misshapen blobs. Just like the...

3 Exciting Biotech Trends to Watch Closely in 2017

As I start to look at the emerging trends of 2017 from the vantage of IndieBio, where we see hundreds of biotech startup applications and technologies per year, a few key themes are already emerging....

The Ethics of Organoids: Scientists Weigh in on New Mini-Organs

Growing organs in the lab is an enduring sci-fi trope, but as stem cell technology brings it ever closer to reality, scientists are beginning to contemplate the ethics governing disembodied human tissue. So-called organoids have...

Designer Babies Dilemma in Sharp Focus With Fast Moving Fertility Tech

Moral panic around “designer babies” is nothing new, but rapid advances in technology that allows adult cells to be reprogrammed into sperm and egg cells could bring the issue into sharp focus. Since the 90s...

Stem Cells Are Poised to Change Health and Medicine Forever

We are at the cusp of a stem cell revolution. Understanding and harnessing these unique cells may unlock breakthroughs in longevity and therapeutic solutions to all kinds of chronic diseases and regenerative opportunities. Last month, I...

Cellular Reprogramming Rejuvenates Old Mice and Boosts Lifespans 30%

The quest for the fountain of youth is as ancient as humanity itself. Now, it appears scientists may have found the source. Using a process designed to “reprogram” normal adult cells into pluripotent stem cells—cells...

Forget Fillings: New Study Shows How to Regrow Teeth

Few of us are graced with a perfect mouthful of teeth. If it’s not braces or cavities, it’s wisdom teeth or root canals. Adding injury to insult, while medicine has made a lot of...

10 Tech Trends That Made the World Better in 2016

2016 was an incredible year for technology, and for humanity. Despite all the negative political-related news, there were 10 tech trends this year that positively transformed humanity. For this “2017 Kick-Off” post, I reviewed 52 weeks...

Researchers Repair Brain Damage in Mice With Stem Cell Transplants

The human brain is a biological wonder with considerable skills. Regeneration, unfortunately, isn’t one of them. Save for one tiny V-shaped region within the hippocampus, the human brain’s ability to rebuild itself is nearly nonexistent....

Printable Organs Will Put an End to Transplant Lists

A woman living on a dialysis machine is grown a new kidney using her own cells. A father struggling with age-related vision loss has his eyesight restored. A soldier suffers extensive burns and has...

Mice Born From Artificial Eggs a ‘Stunning Achievement’

Last month, a team of British scientists successfully made healthy, fertile mice from pseudo-egg cells that resembled fertilized embryos. The story made waves: compared to normal egg cells, the pseudo-eggs were more similar to...

Peter Diamandis: We’ll Radically Extend Our Lives With New Technologies

How long do you think you’ll live? You probably have some idea, and no doubt, you can easily imagine a maximum limit. We humans tend to make it to 70, 80, or 90. The...

How to Rebuild a Face With Jawbone Grown in the Lab

What’s in a face? Doctors say health. Psychologists say personality. Anthropologists say evolution. For me, it’s identity. Arguably, no other body part is as intimately tied to a sense of self as our unique visage. It’s part...

Watch This Amazing 3D Bioprinter Make Artificial Bones From Scratch

If 3D printing is already impacting manufacturing today, what breakthroughs could bioprinting — or printing any mix of organic and inorganic materials — achieve tomorrow? In a recent video, a basic prototype of the...

Can Growing Human Organs in Pigs Solve the Organ Shortage?

Back in the 90s, a deeply disturbing image surfaced on the nascent Internet: a lab mouse with something looking like a human ear grown on its back. Although the “ear” was later proven to be...

Can Dead Brains Be Brought Back to Life? First Human Study to Find Out

Last month, a Philadelphia-based biotech company kicked off a clinical trial that pushes the envelope of what it means to be dead. Armed with ethical approval from the IRB at the Anupam Hospital in India,...

New 3D Printed Ovaries Allow Infertile Mice to Give Birth

It might be time to rethink fertility treatment. Here’s the scoop: scientists at Northwestern University 3D printed a functional ovary out of Jello-like material and living cells. When implanted into mice that had their ovaries...

Exponential Medicine: What to Expect When You’re Expecting Designer Babies

Anywhere you look in the modern world, you’ll see humans translating science fiction into science fact. We make predictions about a far off future, and then our curiosity drives us to make it reality—whether...

Exponential Medicine: Healthcare Is Broken, Here’s How We’re Going Fix It

This week in San Diego, Singularity University is holding its Exponential Medicine Conference, a look at how technologists are redesigning and rebuilding today's broken healthcare system. (Editor's note: Singularity Hub will be covering Exponential Medicine...

How Aged Neurons In a Dish Can Accelerate Longevity Research

Aging insidiously leaves its mark on our brains. With age, our well-oiled neuronal machinery slowly breaks down: gene expression patterns turn wacky, the nuclear membrane disintegrates, and neatly organized molecules inside the cells break out...

A Genomics Revolution: Evolution by Natural Selection to Evolution by Intelligent Direction

Humanity is moving from evolution by natural selection (Darwinism) to evolution by intelligent direction. For most of human history, our average age was only about 26 years old. We would procreate at age 13, live just...

How Stem Cells May Save Your Life—and Even Extend It

You are a collection of over 30 trillion human cells. Every one of these cells, those in your brain, lungs, liver, skin, and everywhere else, derives from a single pluripotent type of cell called a...

How Tiny Lab-Grown Human Brains Are Giving Big Insights Into Autism

First came lab-grown mini-hearts. Then came 3D printed skin. Now scientists have taken “body on a chip” to a whole new level. Starting with skin cells from patient biopsies, scientists transformed them back into stem...

They’re Alive! Watch These Mini 3D Printed Organs Beat Just Like Hearts

There’s something almost alchemical going on at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Scientists there have genetically transformed skin cells into heart cells and used them to 3D print mini-organs that beat just...

Working Lab-Grown Human Muscles to Serve as ‘Clinical Trials in a Dish’

A team of researchers out of Duke University recently announced they’ve grown human skeletal muscle in a dish. The muscle responds to electrical impulses, biochemical signals, and drugs just like muscle tissue in our...

How Technology Brought Us Closer to the Future in 2014

As the year draws to a close, it’s worth glancing over our shoulder. What technologies and themes were brightest in 2014? Read on. (And keep in mind, attempting such a summation is ambitious to the extreme—let us...

Which New Technology Will Win the Race to Repair and Replace Our Organs?

An extraordinary competition is underway—one that could be more impactful to the human species than any other technological rivalry to come before it. Soon, the radical concept of substantially improving or outright replacing our...

Skin Cells Converted Directly to Neurons in Effort to Reverse Huntington’s Disease

Not long ago, we told you about a patient who received a stem cell treatment for degenerative eye disease. In that story, researchers took the patient’s skin cells and turned them into induced pluripotent...

First Patient Receives Stem Cell Treatment for Degenerative Eye Disease

Since stem cells were first hailed as a potential cure for a variety of diseases, we have witnessed setbacks, controversies, and failures. Now, however, human trials for the use of stem cells in treating...

Lab-Grown Retina from Stem Cells Responds to Light

The retina is a complex and fragile piece of equipment, but without it, the world would be completely dark. With a number of diseases that can erode the delicate tissue and little that conventional medicine...

Delivering Capsules of Stem Cells Helps Repair Injured Bones

For the recorder of potentially breakthrough medical technology, sometimes it seems that the list is just so many applications of three new technologies: smaller electronics, new materials and stem cells. Any electronic device set...

Fasting Helps Cancer Patients Survive Chemotherapy — And It Could Help Us All Live Longer

You’ve probably never heard of Valter Longo, but if you’ve heard about the purported health benefits of intermittent fasting, you’ve likely been exposed to his work. A University of Southern California gerontologist, Longo has...

Scientists Trigger Stem Cells to Produce New Brain Cells

It turns out that an apple a day — or at least an apple spinach salad — does keep the doctor away. But it’s not true that when brain cells die we can’t make...

Singularity Surplus: Robotic Furniture and Stuffed Animals

Kids learn with robots; 3D printed liver, no stem cells required, robotic furniture; living forever as computer code

Researchers Get Closer to Making Functional Human Sperm in the Lab

Stanford researchers found that simply by producing stem cells from adult male skin cells and putting them in the sperm-making tubes of mice, they could obtain partly developed germ cells, the cells that produce sperm. The researchers hypothesized that if the cells had been placed in human testes, with their distinct and roomier topography, they would likely have resulted in functional sperm.

Aging Reversed in the Heart, Brain, and Muscles of Mice Thanks to Blood Factor

The idea that blood is the basic stuff of life dates back to well before the scientific method. Yet, in a pair of new studies, researchers have found that blood — and specifically a growth factor in it known as GDF-11 — spurs the brains, muscles, skeletons and hearts of older mice to look and perform like those of younger mice.

Singularity Surplus: Not, Contrary to Popular Belief, Impossible

3d printing houses, neighborhoods, and audio speakers; growing new cartilage in the lab; Congressional bipartisanship over online privacy.

Human Skin Grown From Stem Cells Replicates The Real Thing

Researchers have successfully produced skin in the lab that reproduces the skin barrier. The advance presents a viable alternative to animal testing for cosmetics.

Singularity Surplus: Smile, You’re on Candid Camera!

Computers' EQ rises; lab-grown muscles get stronger; Texas goes big in wind power; and researchers create real-time video game interface of the human brain.

Singularity Surplus: Other News in Exponential Sci/Tech From the Week

Potential treatment for deadly brain cancer; climate change shrinks crops; banking your own stem cells just in case.

Stem Cells Repair, Strengthen Muscles in Aged Mice

Stanford’s Helen Blau, director of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology, studies a banal, but also ubiquitous, use of stem cells in the body: helping muscles repair themselves. The lab's most recent findings suggest that stem cell therapy could be used to help older patients recover from muscular injuries, for example from falls, or perhaps even weakness following surgery.

Simple Method for Creating Stem Cells Promises Cheaper, Faster Therapies

New research has found a way to develop the malleable stem cells using a much simpler method than the one that earned the 2012 Nobel Prize. In a paper published in Nature, researchers from Harvard University and Japan’s RIKEN Center show that by simply giving an adult cell an acid bath, they can convert it into a stem cell.

Progress in Efforts to Develop Lab-Grown Lungs: Functional Cells

Since the development of induced pluripotent stem cells in 2006, scientists have managed to use the manufactured stem cells like seeds to grow a wide range of tissues and rudimentary organs. But different tissue types have not proven equal, and researchers are still struggling to coax stem cells to take on certain roles: Lung cells have proved difficult to create. Columbia University researchers recently managed to develop functional lung and airway cells from human iPSCs.

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