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Focus on stem cells

The explosion of interest in stem cells, over the past decade or so, in both basic and translational research has encouraged three of BioMed Central's flagship journals, BMC Biology, BMC Medicine and Genome Medicine, to come together to present a series of specially commissioned comment and review articles on stem cell biology and medicine. In this thematic series we aim to highlight some of the most important and topical issues - including recent advances, controversies and challenges in stem cell research, and of course their clinical implications. To supplement the comment and review, relevant original research articles will be added to the series as they are published. Stem cell genomics: new thematic series. Genome Medicine 2011, 3:34. An editorial by Guest Editor Stuart Orkin introduces this new series of articles, highlighting progress in genomic-scale studies of stem cells and cellular reprogramming that could impact medicine. Stem cell therapy clinical trials. BMC Medicine 2011, 9:52. Trounson and colleagues review recent developments and future prospects of clinical trials for stem cell therapies, highlighting usage of mesenchymal and neural stem cells, and reporting on the start of trials involving lines derived from pluripotent cells. Focus on stem cell individuality. BMC Biology 2011, 9:40. Arthur Lander reflects on how current assumptions that stem cells divide asymmetrically and are programmed to produce the right differentiated cell types at the right times may fail to acknowledge a fundamental contribution of stem cell individuality.

  1. Commentary

    Chromatin roadblocks to reprogramming 50 years on

    A half century after John Gurdon demonstrated nuclear reprogramming, for which he was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, his group provides insights into the molecular mechanisms whereby c...

    Peter J Skene and Steven Henikoff

    BMC Biology 2012 10:83

    Published on: 29 October 2012

  2. Research

    Digital transcriptome profiling of normal and glioblastoma-derived neural stem cells identifies genes associated with patient survival

    Glioblastoma multiforme, the most common type of primary brain tumor in adults, is driven by cells with neural stem (NS) cell characteristics. Using derivation methods developed for NS cells, it is possible to...

    Pär G Engström, Diva Tommei, Stefan H Stricker, Christine Ender, Steven M Pollard and Paul Bertone

    Genome Medicine 2012 4:76

    Published on: 9 October 2012

  3. Research article

    Human amniotic fluid stem cell injection therapy for urethral sphincter regeneration in an animal model

    Stem cell injection therapies have been proposed to overcome the limited efficacy and adverse reactions of bulking agents. However, most have significant limitations, including painful procurement, requirement...

    Bum Soo Kim, So Young Chun, Jong Kil Lee, Hyun Ju Lim, Jae-sung Bae, Ho-Yun Chung, Anthony Atala, Shay Soker, James J Yoo and Tae Gyun Kwon

    BMC Medicine 2012 10:94

    Published on: 21 August 2012

  4. Research article

    Reversal of type 1 diabetes via islet β cell regeneration following immune modulation by cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells

    Inability to control autoimmunity is the primary barrier to developing a cure for type 1 diabetes (T1D). Evidence that human cord blood-derived multipotent stem cells (CB-SCs) can control autoimmune responses ...

    Yong Zhao, Zhaoshun Jiang, Tingbao Zhao, Mingliang Ye, Chengjin Hu, Zhaohui Yin, Heng Li, Ye Zhang, Yalin Diao, Yunxiang Li, Yingjian Chen, Xiaoming Sun, Mary Beth Fisk, Randal Skidgel, Mark Holterman, Bellur Prabhakar…

    BMC Medicine 2012 10:3

    Published on: 10 January 2012

  5. Minireview

    Clinical application of stem cell therapy in Parkinson's disease

    Cell replacement therapies in Parkinson's disease (PD) aim to provide long-lasting relief of patients' symptoms. Previous clinical trials using transplantation of human fetal ventral mesencephalic (hfVM) tissu...

    Marios Politis and Olle Lindvall

    BMC Medicine 2012 10:1

    Published on: 4 January 2012

  6. Review

    Stem cell approaches for diabetes: towards beta cell replacement

    Stem cells hold great promise for pancreatic beta cell replacement therapy for diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, beta cells are mostly destroyed, and in type 2 diabetes beta cell numbers are reduced by 40% to 60%....

    Gordon C Weir, Claudia Cavelti-Weder and Susan Bonner-Weir

    Genome Medicine 2011 3:61

    Published on: 27 September 2011

  7. Review

    Stem cell biology and drug discovery

    There are many reasons to be interested in stem cells, one of the most prominent being their potential use in finding better drugs to treat human disease. This article focuses on how this may be implemented. R...

    Lee L Rubin and Kelly M Haston

    BMC Biology 2011 9:42

    Published on: 7 June 2011

  8. Opinion

    Stochastic dynamics and the evolution of mutations in stem cells

    Stem cells are the target of mutations that can lead to life threatening diseases. However, stem cell populations tend to be small and therefore clonal expansion of mutant cells is highly sensitive to stochast...

    David Dingli and Jorge M Pacheco

    BMC Biology 2011 9:41

    Published on: 7 June 2011

  9. Review

    Clinical trials for stem cell therapies

    In recent years, clinical trials with stem cells have taken the emerging field in many new directions. While numerous teams continue to refine and expand the role of bone marrow and cord blood stem cells for t...

    Alan Trounson, Rahul G Thakar, Geoff Lomax and Don Gibbons

    BMC Medicine 2011 9:52

    Published on: 10 May 2011