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Mechanism Behind Muscle Stem Cell Transformation Discovered

By Dee Chisamera, eFluxMedia, December 11, 2007

Costa Rica is the destination for a seven year old boy named Matthew from Central Florida. The boy and his family are traveling not for a vacation, but with the hope of curing the boys autism, which was diagnosed when he was 18 months old.

"He wasn't born with autism," Matthew's father Daniel Faiella said.

Matthew began to lose his ability to speak as he got older.

The future of medicine could potentially be revolutionized because of stem cells. This very reason has kept scientists working night and day all over the world in an effort to better understand the mechanisms that ensure the self-renewal of these cells and their capability to treat human disease.

With an active role in replacing dying cells and regenerating tissue, somatic stem cells, which are better known as adult stem cells, can be found in the human body. With such high therapeutic potential, these cells have become the subject of numerous research studies because of their ability to self-renew and generate cells identical to those of the organ from which they originate.

Via bone marrow transplant, various types of blood and bone cancers such as leukemia have already been treated using adult stem cells. The U.S. Government has given more research funds to institutes who study adult stem cells since they donít require the destruction of an embryo.

The mechanism that triggers the transformation of adult muscle stem cells into new tissue was recently deciphered by a research team from the Burnham Institute for Medical Research. In order to assemble components of the protein complexes that are responsible for muscle transcription, the study shows how two signaling paths co-work. How each of the two paths has its active role in the muscle transcription was also revealed. The teams research has been published in the magazine Molecular Cell.


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