New Year, Improved Stem Cell Technology

Scientific Advancements in Stem Cell Therapy Expected in 2015

Science and technology grow by leaps and bounds each year, and the science of stem cells is no different. Already we are seeing stem cell technology aid in healing burns, osteoarthritis, spinal cord injury and so much more! And 2015 is expected to be a year of great scientific stem cell innovations. Let’s take a glance at what researchers are looking forward to:

Parkinson’s Disease

A therapy for Parkinson’s disease is expected to get approval for testing in Australia as soon as February. Neural stem cells, which can mature into cells making the neurotransmitter dopamine, are deficient in Parkinson's. Scientists plan to implant these stem cells into the brains of Parkinson's patients, restoring dopamine production and normal movement in the patients. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

GPS for Stem Cells

Researchers have developed a ‘GPS’ method to guide stem cells to inflammatory sites. In Type 1 Diabetes, the body’s immune cells obliterate pancreatic islets, where insulin is produced. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a type of adult stem cell with potent immune-suppressing and anti-inflammatory effects. By “steering” MSCs into the pancreas, researchers have been able to reverse type 1 diabetes in pre-clinical studies. (Harvard Gazette)

Environmental Effects on Stem Cells

BPA exposure has recently been linked to changes in stem cells that produce sperm. BPA and other estrogenic compounds hamper development of the stem cells responsible for producing sperm in mice, which suggests such exposure could contribute to declining sperm counts in men, according to a new study.

The study, published in PLoS Genetics, is the first to suggest that low, brief exposures to bisphenol-A, or other estrogens such as those used in birth control but found as water contaminants, early in life can alter the stem cells responsible for producing sperm later in life. (Environmental Health News)

Increased Innovation in Beauty

During the period of 2014 – 2019, the global cosmeceuticals market is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 8.62 percent. Cosmeceuticals, or cosmetics with medicinal benefits, continue to revolutionize the world of hair, lip, tooth and skin care by offering safe and natural ingredients for consumer’s personal use. The latest report predicts new ingredients will continue developing in this sector—from plant stem cells to peptides and beyond. (Natural Products Insider)

Stem cells continue to be a promising development for everything from reversing disease to reversing aging. What types of innovations would you like to see in 2015?