A new stem cell discovery could lead to treatments for some age-related diseases and improve the effectiveness of regenerative medicine.
Researchers from Salk Institute for Biological Studies have found a way to delay the aging of stem cells after they uncovered a series of biological events that implicate the stem cells’ surroundings. This ‘niche’ is likely to be the main culprit in loss of stem calls due to aging.
The study’s senior investigator, Leanne Jones, associate professor in Salk’s Laboratory of Genetics, said: “The findings suggest, for example, that putting new or young stem cells into an old environment (that of an aged patient) might not lead to the best outcome in tissue regeneration.”
Signals from the ‘niche’ were found to act to maintain the vitality of the stem cells that are lost over time, leading to a decline in the number of stem cells available to maintain the tissue. They found that restoring those signals revitalises the cells.