Controlling the stem cell environment
For many years, scientists have been working on finding ways to control how stem cells develop into other cell types, hoping to create new cures. One step towards success has been made, as pluripotent cells, i.e., stem cells that have the ability to turn into any kind of cell, have been grown by researchers. When placed into a specific space, gene networks are triggered that define the ultimate fate of the cells. Most other medical research on pluripotent stem cells has focused on modifying the combination of growth solutions in which the cells are placed. The discovery that there is a biomechanical element to controlling how stem cells transform into other cell types is an important piece of the puzzle as scientists try to harness stem cells for medical uses.
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