The Niche

This week on Nature Reports Stem Cells

A commentary from a global group of scholars

International stem cell environments: a world of difference

Stem-cell research represents a patchwork of patchworks. Understanding this can help the research community to manage it effectively

Getting blood stem cells to the heart

Improving engraftment increases survival in a mouse model

What makes a cancer stem cell?

What can cultured balls of cells say about the origin of cancer stem cells?

(Also, last week I ran a series called Stem cells and neurodegenerative disease: cool science and scepticism) Here are some follow-ups.


This is an experimental format, where I asked an outside expert to look at three papers with translational implications. It is a lot more work for me than research highlights, so if you like this format, speak up. theniche[at]nature.com

A couple follow-ups from that:

One paper described creating stem-cell derived human neurons that engrafted with rat motor neurons in a model of a neurodegenerative disease. The headline describe the human cells as motor neurons, but they are actually interneurons. That’s been fixed now.

Also, another paper described a study that put bone marrow cells in spinal cord patients. I did not get detailed responses to my queries about preclinical evidence for efficacy for the procedure. However, a separate, larger study (with more modest, precise claims) recently published in Spinal Cord. Here is the link to that. Stem cells in the treatment of chronic spinal cord injury: evaluation of somatosensitive evoked potentials in 39 patients

Oh, and here’s a fun article using carbon-dating to figure out how well heart cells regenerate in adults.

Finally, we’d written about some Nature articles when the published online. They printed 9 April, and here are the links to NPG coverage.

The Hedgehog pathway in leukemia stem cells looks potentially druggable (From Reya’s lab at Duke)

Our highlight: Self-renewing blood and leukaemia cells need hedgehog

All that cool PiggyBac stuff for making iPS cells. Here is NatureNews. It’s a transposon that gets in, does the reprogramming thing, and snips itself out. (From Kaji at University of Edinburgh and Andres Nagy at the University of Toronto)

BTW: Our newsletter came out the week of April 9. It puts all the month’s content together in one email. If you didn’t get it, go to Nature Reports Stem Cells and click e-mail alert sign up on the upper right. These are our highlights, commentaries, reported articles, and some other NPG content. To stay up with the blog, keep coming to the home page or sign up for the RSS feed)

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