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Could Stem Cells Cure MS?

from the Scientist

Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) have become a popular potential therapy for numerous autoimmune and neurological disorders. But while these bone marrow-derived stem cells have been studied in great detail in the dish, scientists know little about how they modulate the immune system and promote tissue repair in living organisms.

Now, one research team has uncovered a molecular mechanism by which hMSCs promote recovery in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS).

According to research, published online Sunday (May 20) in Nature Neuroscience, a growth factor produced by hMSCs fights MS in two ways: blocking a destructive autoimmune response and repairing neuronal damage. The finding could help advance ongoing clinical trials testing hMSCs as a therapy for MS.

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PODCASTS: Expanding With the Cosmos

Using the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ATC), a 6.5-meter microwave collector in Chile, cosmologists are piecing together the early history of the known universe. In an exclusive American Scientist interview, Arthur Kosowsky—a member of the ATC team and a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh—discusses how he is using ATC to reach back in time billions of years to search for gravitational waves that could verify inflation and reveal unprecedented details about how the cosmos was born.

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