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Thread: Not so Silly Putty: UM researchers use one of its components to turn stem cells into

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    Senior Member Leo's Avatar
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    Not so Silly Putty: UM researchers use one of its components to turn stem cells into

    Jianping Fu, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, says an easier way to more efficiently guide stem cells to differentiate into the more than 200 cell types that make up the human body can potentially help provide therapies for such diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig?s disease), Huntington?s or Alzheimer?s.

    Fu and his colleagues designed microscopic posts on which to place the Silly Putty component. The shorter the post, the stiffer the surface cells grew on. The long the post, the softer and more plush the surface.

    Stem cells they grew on the softer carpets turned into nerve cells much faster and more often than those that grew on stiffer surfaces. After 23 days, colonies of spinal cord cells (motor neurons that control how muscles move) that grew on the softer carpets were 10 times larger than those growing on either traditional plates or rigid carpets.

    ?This is extremely exciting,? Fu said in a news release. ?To realize promising clinical applications of human embryonic stem cells, we need a better culture system that can reliably produce more target cells that function well. Our approach is a big step in that direction, by using synthetic microengineered surfaces to control mechanical environmental signals.

    ?Our work suggests that physical signals in the cell environment are important in neural patterning, a process where nerve cells become specialized for their specific functions based on their physical location in the body,? he said.

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  2. #2
    After 23 days, colonies of spinal cord cells (motor neurons that control how muscles move) that grew on the softer carpets were 10 times larger than those growing on either traditional plates or rigid carpets.
    http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/255184761.html

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