A long-term study by Italian researchers shows that stem cells can help restore vision in eyes that have been blinded by burns. Moreover, the restored vision remained stable over 10 years.
Patients whose eyes have suffered heat or chemical burns typically experience severe damage to the cornea -- the thin, transparent front of the eye that refracts light and contributes most of the eye's focusing ability. The Italian technique uses stem cells taken from the limbus, the border between the cornea and the white of the eye, to cultivate a graft of healthy cells in a lab.
Liver disease is the 12th-leading cause of death in the U.S., chiefly because once it's determined that a patient needs a new liver it's very difficult to get one. Even in cases where a suitable donor match is found, there's no guarantee a transplant will be successful. But researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have taken a huge step toward building functioning livers in the lab, successfully transplanting culture-grown livers into rats.
In Popular Science's July issue, we look at the phenomenon of stem-cell tourism: patients who head overseas for experimental medical treatments unavailable in the U.S. For the article, I spent a few days checking out Regenocyte, a Florida-based medical operation that coordinates experimental stem cell treatments in the Dominican Republic.
Now another developing country known for courting overseas patients -- Costa Rica -- has discontinued stem cell procedures at its biggest clinic, the Institute of Cellular Medicine (ICM) in San Jose, which has treated about 400 people since it opened in 2006.
It's 2:30 in the afternoon in the Dominican Republic, and Karen Velline, a 66-year-old grandmother from Cold Spring, Minnesota, is lying on an operating table, swaddled in sterile surgical sheets. She's just moments away from a procedure so experimental that no doctor will perform it on U.S. soil. Yet she calmly stares up at the ceiling, more excited than anxious.
The loss of a tooth is a minor deformity and a major pain. Although dental implants are available, the healing process can take months on end, and implants that fail to align with the ever-growing jawbone tend to fall out. If only adult teeth could be regenerated, right?
According to a study published in the latest Journal of Dental Research, a new tissue regeneration technique may allow people to simply regrow a new set of pearly whites.
Women who bemoan their once-a-month curse may soon have reason to appreciate it: Chelsea Briganti, a senior at the Parsons New School for Design, has developed a tampon-like kit made from silicone that collects and stores adult stem cells from the wearer's menstrual blood.
Human stem cells grown in a simulated microgravity environment develop differently than those grown under normal conditions, an Australian study has found. The finding could have implications for space colonization and long-term spaceflight.
Using a NASA-developed rotating vessel that simulates microgravity, an Australian whiz-kid researcher found the stem cells' protein expressions were vastly different than when grown in normal Earth gravity, Discovery News reports.
Figuring out a good bone replacement for limbs has proved a problem since the days of the wooden peg leg. Yet scientists have now grown two small bones based on digital images and a 3-D scaffolding, the New York Times reports.
The brain is the body's most complicated biological machine, and as such it can be very difficult to service when something goes wrong; after our neural wiring is put in place, at a very young age, altering or rebuilding it becomes extremely challenging.