Here is another article about things going on around Rochester.
A team of scientists from the University of Rochester has identified and isolated a population of stem cells that are capable of both skull formation and craniofacial bone repair in mice. Not only is this the first time that this has been achieved, but it also marks an important step in stem cell research, paving the way for doctors to use stem cells for facial and head bone reconstruction in the future.
Dr. Wei Hsu is the dean’s professor of Biomedical Genetics and a scientist at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health at the University of Rochester Medical Center and author of the study. In his report, Hsu said that the aim was to further understand craniosyntosis, a skull-deformity in infants.
On an X-ray, which can be taken as fast as 30 frames per second, the skull of an infant with craniosyostosis is shown as prematurely fused. This occurs through a process called ossification, which ultimately changes the pattern of the skull.
This growth pattern can ultimately lead to developmental issues and dangerous levels of pressure in the skull. With this new research, however, Hsu hopes to find stem-cell therapy that will successfully treat the condition.
Hsu believes that his findings can ultimately help researchers to find ways to replaced damaged craniofacial bones in humans due to congenital diseases such as cranosyntosis.
Hsu and the study’s lead author, Takamitsu Maruyama, Ph.D., spent years investigating the role of a gene called Axin2 in bone formation and regeneration, while simultaneously looking at the way the mutation causes craniosynotosis in mice.
Ultimately, the researchers found that the stem cells involved in the process of skull formation — the cells specific to bones in the head — are contained within this population.
The researchers also found that these kinds of tests can be used to help medical professionals protect patients from bone diseases caused by abnormalities.
The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.