National Academy of Medicine Elects 79 New Members

rando-150The National Academy of Medicine announced today the election of 70 regular members and 9 international members during its annual meeting. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service. Dr. Thomas Rando was among those elected.

Full article

A Niche New Way to Stay a Stem Cell

rando-150All quiescent on the fresh native myofiber, but…

Stem cells typically lose the capacity to differentiate when cultured in vitro. Their potency appears to depend on preserving the quiescent state, which has been difficult to accomplish with traditional culture methods. In the body, stem cells reside in specialized microenvironments, or niches, with unique chemical and physical properties. Quiescent stem cells isolated from their native environment and then plated become activated to divide and differentiate. A Stanford University research group led by Dr. Thomas A. Rando sought to create an enhanced culture system for studying the biology of quiescence.

Full article

Artificial muscle fibers help keep muscle stem cells potent in lab

rando-150There’s no place like home—particularly if you’re a muscle stem cell.

Snuggled comfortably along the length of our muscle fibers, these stem cells rest quietly, biding their time until the muscle needs to be repaired after injury. Although it’s possible to maintain muscle stem cells in a laboratory dish, they’re not really happy there. Within a short time they begin to divide and lose their ability to function as stem cells.

Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have come up with a way to create a home away from home for the stem cells in the form of artificial muscle fibers. They’ve also identified the particular “soup” of molecules and nutrients necessary to keep the cells in their most potent, regenerative state.

Full article

Helping stem cells sleep can boost their power to heal

rando-150We are often told that sleep is one of the most important elements of a healthy lifestyle, that it helps in the healing and repair of our heart and blood vessels – among other things.

It turns out that sleep, or something very similar, is equally important for stem cells, helping them retain their power or potency, which is a measure of their effectiveness and efficiency in generating the mature adult cells that are needed to repair damage. Now researchers from Stanford, with a little help from CIRM, have found a way to help stem cells get the necessary rest before kicking in to action. This could pave the way for a whole new approach to treating a variety of genetic disorders such as muscular dystrophy.

Full article

Artificial muscle fibers help keep muscle stem cells potent in lab

rando-150There’s no place like home — particularly if you’re a muscle stem cell.

Snuggled comfortably along the length of our muscle fibers, these stem cells rest quietly, biding their time until the muscle needs to be repaired after injury. Although it’s possible to maintain muscle stem cells in a laboratory dish, they’re not really happy there. Within a short time they begin to divide and lose their ability to function as stem cells.

Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have come up with a way to create a home away from home for the stem cells in the form of artificial muscle fibers. They’ve also identified the particular “soup” of molecules and nutrients necessary to keep the cells in their most potent, regenerative state.

“Normally these stem cells like to cuddle right up against their native muscle fibers,” said Thomas Rando, MD, PhD, professor of neurology. “When we disrupt that interaction, the cells are activated and begin to divide and become less stemlike. But now we’ve designed an artificial substrate that, to the cells, looks, smells and feels like a real muscle fiber. When we also bathe these fibers in the appropriate factors, we find that the stem cells maintain high-potency and regenerative capacity.”

Full article