Super-resolution microscopes reveal the link between genome packaging and cell pluripotency

A study using Super-resolution microscopy reveals that our genome is not regularly packaged and links these packaging differences to stem cell state. A multidisciplinary approach allowed scientists to view and even count, for the first time, the smallest units for packaging our genome. This study has brought together biologists and physicists from the Centre for Genomic Regulation and the Institute of Photonic Sciences, both in Barcelona.

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emilysmithltg2086d ago

Stem cell research is always such a controversial topic. But quality control might just make it more accepted than before, although there will still be voices out there screaming murder and talking about millennia-old ethics principles. Very thorough article, it's nice that such studies get the attention they deserve.

ZoyosJD2085d ago

The issues with ethics became non-existent as soon as we found out you can make stem cells from any body cell type (skin cells for example).

The only truly preventative status at this point is cost.

emilysmithltg2084d ago

Do you know any tech that would be able to bring costs down? But there still are countries where they don't allow use of stem cells.... it's sad, really.

ZoyosJD2084d ago

Well, there is more to the current situation, but investment into research and self controlled processes are what is needed.

Stem cells are produced by altering / adding genes in normal cells. It's different for each type, but for example skin cells require 4 genes iirc. We have only recently been able to ensure that these stem cells do not produce cancerous cells. Beyond that there are specific situational interventions that need to be made to ensure that the stem cell then turns into the correct type of cell and that the cells align properly. At this point it is important to note that there is still work being done on the transformation to different cell types. For example within the last week or so a report came out covering cartilage.

Essentially we are still in a cataloging phase. As you can imagine genetic work, even on the things already cataloged is extremely expensive; paying a team of world class scientists. Hence the need for a self automated process.

This article simply covers something that makes it easier for the scientists, and is clearly not self automated, but could really help in coming up with a way to do such.

To complicate matters stem cells are also considered a drug by the FDA, and are going to need a unique approval, or a fully approved process for each type conversion before being widely available. Which means several years of finding people that are willing to sign their life away to hopefully fix whatever ails them.

emilysmithltg2084d ago

Thanks, that sounds much more difficult than I had imagined. But it seems like one of the most promising areas of medical research, and I'm sure that people will be appreciating the efforts of scientists. Although I'm sure there are people who would try participating in trials, because it might be their last chance, I hope people will reconsider and see stem cells as one of their first options. I've recently seen a documentary on stem cell research on D. Science, explaining how they managed to localize the genes causing cells to mutate into cancerous ones and they introduced a patient who had volunteered to test the stem cell treatment engineered for their specific type of cancer, pinpointing the genes that should be treated. The person in question was in no way cured, but the treatment they were getting was beneficial and they had seen their cancerous cells shrink away. It was remarkable. If I had the know-how to explain the process through which these genes were identified and targeted with stem cells, I would be very happy. In any case, I see future in stem cell research, and hopefully, companies might also get involved with the funding, although I wouldn't like it if they did with the research what they do generally. It's hard to find the road in the middle to get funding, approvals, participants and researchers to work on stem cell research and implement it without organizations or companies slowing down the process or monopolizing on it, looking only for the profit, not the benefits.

ZoyosJD2083d ago

No problem. Stem cell and genetic research is of course the most promising due to it's direct relation to aging and regenerative process.

The mastery of stem cells is the modern definition of the fountain of youth.

I don't watch TV, but the situation you described sounds like they tried to overwhelm the cancerous cells with stem cells. If that is the case it is not a perfect method, but is far better than destructive method we use currently. Mind you, I am already explaining things way out of my area of expertise.

Cancer is "cured" by the effective destruction of cancerous cells and/or the the removal/replacement of those genetic sequences.

Finding a way to do that without targeting other cells or gene sequences is the current big concern.

Pinpointing a genetic location is simply more cataloging and comparison. DNA splicing is a bit more complicated than I can explain off the top of my head in a comment, but I think you can get an idea for it without the excessive details.