Rescuing Pregnancies with Placental Genes

With every new experiment and every new discovery, the power and potential of stem cells are reaffirmed. 

A research team led by Dr. Yosef Buganim of the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Developmental Biology and Cancer Research has harnessed the technique of introducing master genes into adult cells and converting these cells into placental stem cells (induced trophoblast stem cells), which are responsible for the formation of most cells in the placenta. Their research has revealed that injection of these converted cells into early-stage embryos can contribute to the formation of a normal placenta. This work holds great promise for the treatment of recurrent miscarriages and placental dysfunction diseases.

Dr. Buganim and his team are using the same technique to address male fertility problems by creating sperm cell-supporting cells and sperm-producing cells from induced embryonic stem cells and also directly from adult stem cells. This would open the door for sterile men to reproduce offspring with their own genes.

The next step:

Translational Research: Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine

Regenerative medicine focuses on unraveling the mysteries of human genetics so that people can receive adapted and transplanted cells to replace defective or damaged tissues and organs. For scientists and clinicians, stem cells hold the secrets and the solutions. Embryonic stem cells, which can give rise to every cell, tissue and organ in the fetus, have the potential to evolve into any cell in the human body. Adult stem cells, such as the blood stem cells found in human bone marrow and blood, already play an important role in medical treatments such as bone marrow transplantation.

Multidisciplinary translational research will help scientists enhance their understanding of stem cells and apply that knowledge to help regenerate particular tissues to combat specific diseases and injuries.

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