Washington: To fight maladies ranging fromarthritis to broken bones that won`t heal, scientists havefound a new way.
They found that Notch prevents stem cells from maturingand when the Notch pathway was activated, the stem cellsdidn`t progress as usual. Instead, they remained indefinitelyin an immature state and did not go on to become bone cells,cartilage cells, or cells for connective tissue. "A big problem has been that these stem cells like todifferentiate rapidly -- oftentimes too rapidly to make themvery useful," said lead author Matthew J Hilton. "It`s been very hard to get a useful number of stemcells that can still become any one of several types of tissuea patient might need. Having a large population of trueskeletal stem cells available is a key consideration for newtherapies and that`s been a real roadblock so far," Hiltonsaid. The team also settled a long-standing question,fingering the molecule RBPJ-kappa as the molecule throughwhich Notch works in mesenchymal stem cells. This will explainhow Notch works in bone and cartilage development. Earlier study showed that Notch is a critical regulatorof the development of bone and cartilage. The latest study extends those observations, providingimportant details that suggest appropriate activation andmanipulation of the Notch pathway may provide doctors with atool to maintain and expand mesenchymal stem cells for use intreating disease. The work is part of ongoing research around the worldaimed at harnessing the promise of stem cells for humanhealth. PTI
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