Stem cell-based treatments are becoming more common, particularly in the treatment of blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. In these cases, the individual’s cancerous blood stem cells are eradicated and reinstated with new and healthy ones. Nevertheless, up to a quarter of patients die as replenishing of blood cells is quite slow. One resolution to this is to amplify the divisions of “blood-making” or HSCs (hematopoietic stem cells). These are the stem cells that create different types of blood cells. This ultimately drives HSCs to divide rapidly. Researchers already know that stress leads to HSCs to decelerate; reconstituting the full blood-cell supply system could be overwhelming. This stress induces augmented activity in mitochondria, which are the energy-producing organelles of the cell.
To meet the higher demands of reconstructing blood cells, the mitochondria of the HSCs amplify a process known as “oxidative phosphorylation.” But this comes at a price as improving the activity of mitochondria leads HSCs to age untimely. A group of researchers directed by Olaia Naveiras—from EPFL—and Nicola Vannini—from the LICR (Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research)—now states that an analogue of nicotinamide riboside—vitamin B3—can surge HSCs and improve their activity. The scientists stated that exposing mouse and human HSCs to in vitro vitamin B3 augments their function and mitochondrial recycling.
Speaking of stem cells, recently, scientists developed mini kidneys from urine cells. Researchers from University Medical Center Utrecht, Hubrecht Institute, and Utrecht University have successfully formed kidney organoids by urine cells. This can give rise to an extensive range of new therapies that are less burdensome for kidney patients. The research was published in Nature Biotechnology. Due to revolutionary advancements in stem cell research, researchers can grow mini intestines, lungs, livers, and pancreases in the laboratory.