Stem cells

Stem cells are biological cells found in all multi-cellular organisms, that can divide into diverse specialised cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells. Human adult stem cells are routinely used in medical therapies, for example in bone marrow transplants. Stem cells can also be artificially grown and transformed into specialised cell types with characteristics consistent with cells of various tissues such as muscles or nerves.

Stem-cell transplants clear HIV from patients, researchers report

Two men with HIV have been off Aids drugs for several months after receiving stem-cell transplants for cancer that appear to have cleared the virus from their bodies, researchers reported.

Friday, 5 July, 2013, 4:45am

Breakthrough as human liver grows from stem cell

Human liver cells were grown in petri dishes. Photo: NYT

Researchers in Japan have used human stem cells to create tiny human livers like those that arise early in fetal life. When the scientists transplanted the rudimentary livers into mice, the little organs grew, made human liver proteins, and metabolised drugs as human livers do.

5 Jul 2013 - 4:45am

Researchers make embryonic stem cells from skin

Developing human embryos, nucleated by somatic cell nuclear transfer, during their third day of development. Photo: Reuters

US researchers have reported a breakthrough in stem cell research, describing how they have turned human skin cells into embryonic stem cells for the first time.

17 May 2013 - 12:29am

Grow your own

A stem cell researcher in Seoul. Photo: Reuters

Imagine this: a car crash victim who suffers serious trauma to the brain avoids neurological damage after the doctors regenerate his lost brain matter using stem cells in the lab.

19 Feb 2013 - 10:19am

3-D printing breakthrough with stem cells

A colony of human embryonic stem cells, which can now be printed.

Three-dimensional printing is all the rage: from crafting musical instruments and prosthetic limbs to constructing a manned base on the moon.

5 Feb 2013 - 5:14pm

Health bites

Health bites

Work out now and continue to reap the benefits later. A new study in the United States has found that having a higher fitness level in midlife appears to be associated with a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia in later years. 

18 Feb 2013 - 5:06pm

A potential cure on a plate

Patients' skin cells were used to create the "disease in a dish" model.

Researchers are a step closer to developing therapies for the deadly condition, known as arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C).

29 Jan 2013 - 11:35am

Japan researchers grow kidney tissue from stem cells

Researchers in Japan said on Wednesday they have succeeded in growing human kidney tissue from stem cells for the first time in a potential breakthrough for millions with damaged organs who are dependent on dialysis.

23 Jan 2013 - 6:24pm

Donor stem cells as safe as patient's own for heart repair

Stem cells from the marrow of healthy donors was found to help repair recipient's damaged heart tissue.

Researchers are reporting that stem cells donated by strangers proved as safe and effective as patients' own cells for helping restore heart tissue, a key advance in repairing hearts damaged by heart attacks.

7 Nov 2012 - 4:10am

I did my best work 50 years ago, says Nobel winner John Gurdon

John Gurdon's ground-breaking work “was essentially to show that all the different cells of the body have the same genes". Photo: AFP

British scientist John Gurdon, awarded the Nobel Medicine Prize on Monday, admitted he had done the bulk of the cell programming work for which he was honoured half a century ago.

The 79-year-old, with a shock of swept-back greying blond hair, held a hastily-arranged press conference in London, just hours after being telephoned by the Nobel academy with the news of his award.

29 Aug 2013 - 4:13am

More Hong Kong parents are paying the high cost of storing umbilical cord blood

Umbilical cord blood is stored at minus 135 degrees Celsius at the CordLife facility (left). The stem cells can be used for medical emergencies later in life.Photo: K.Y. Cheng. Illustration: Corbis

The sales pitch of the blood bank is something first-time mother Mrs Leung couldn't ignore. When she gave birth to her son at Union Hospital last year, she was told her child's umbilical cord was rich with stem cells that may have the potential to treat Alzheimer's disease and traumatic brain injury in the future.

18 Sep 2012 - 7:49am

Mainland tightens rules on stem cell therapy

A member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences who helped draft the mainland's first regulations on clinical trials of stem cell treatments says the authorities are considering centralising such treatment and research in 50 hospitals and institutes.

10 Jul 2012 - 12:00am

Stem cells could halt Huntington's

Mainland research on stem cells could point the way to an effective treatment for Huntington's disease, an inherited incurable degenerative brain disorder.

25 Mar 2012 - 12:00am

Dangers stemmed, and not before time

Since free-market reforms 20 years ago that brought an end to free health care, the mainland's medical system has developed a reputation for underperforming and overcharging, prompting Beijing to unveil a blueprint in 2009 to make hospitals more accessible and affordable.

29 Jan 2012 - 12:00am

Halt to rogue stem-cell therapy

The health ministry has halted registration of all new stem-cell projects for six months amid a year-long crackdown on hospitals cashing in on unproven stem-cell therapies.

It also said yesterday that all clinical trials of stem-cell therapies should be free.

11 Jan 2012 - 12:00am