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Stem cells

This category contains 10 posts

The stem cell that keeps you topped up with blood

Our blood is made up of a huge number of different cell types responsible for oxygen distribution, blood clotting and fighting infection. So, have you ever wondered where all these different blood cells come from? Believe it or not it is down to one type of cell, called hematopoietic stem cells, which can give rise … Continue reading

A zebrafish genetic toolkit to understand development

Development is complex business – from the moment a sperm fertilises an egg, a cascade of biological processes is set in motion. Small changes in this cascade can cause a number of different developmental conditions, and so trying to tease apart the stages is important to help find the causes and highlight potential treatment options. … Continue reading

The science behind the headlines

The Museum of Natural History in Oxford runs many activities to try and engage the public with scientific research, including their regular ‘Super Science Saturdays’ events. Last autumn, as part of a special themed Super Science Saturday called ‘Behind The Headlines’, a team of scientists from Roger Patient’s lab in the MRC Molecular Haematology Unit … Continue reading

Ever wondered where your blood comes from?

We all find out at a pretty young age what our blood is: often due to unfortunate incidents as toddlers involving overambitious attempts to run/jump/climb over household objects twice our height. But despite almost continually losing blood throughout our lives via cuts, grazes, injections and other incidents we almost never run out of the stuff, … Continue reading

What’s in a brain?

Studying human neurological diseases has always presented scientists with a major challenge due to the ethical and clinical inaccessibility of living human brain tissue. In order to circumvent this problem, scientists have turned to an exciting new approach: taking skin or blood cells from a patient with a neurological disease, and turning them into brain … Continue reading

From stem cell to specialized cell: but what happens in between?

Stem cells have the remarkable ability to develop into a whole host of highly specialized cell types, but the process by which this happens is extremely transient and therefore enormously challenging to study. However, a new paper from Claus Nerlov’s and Sten Eirik Jacobsen’s labs, published in Nature Cell Biology two weeks ago, is one of … Continue reading

Fishing for improved leukaemia treatments

To enter this year’s MRC Max Perutz Science Writing Award, MRC-funded PhD students were asked to answer the question: ‘Why does my research matter?’ Here, Tomek Dobrzycki (a PhD student in Roger Patient’s lab) publishes his entry for the Award, in which he describes why zebrafish might hold the key to understanding how blood stem … Continue reading

Specifying stem cells, specifically

Your blood is made up of many, many different types of highly specialized cells: white blood cells to fight infections; red blood cells to carry oxygen; and platelets to allow your blood to clot (to name but a few). Scientists now know that all of these diverse cell types originate from a single parent cell … Continue reading

How to make a red blood cell – and fast

Understanding how normal blood cells are made in the body can help us understand what goes wrong in blood-related diseases such as anaemia (a lack of red blood cells) and leukaemia (cancer of the blood). Guest writer Dr. Gemma Swiers describes recent research by Claus Nerlov’s group in the WIMM that has made an exciting breakthrough in understanding how the … Continue reading

Propagating platelets: a novel cancer therapy?

Every two minutes, someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer [1]. There are over 200 forms of the disease, some of which can be diagnosed early and treated easily, and others that form aggressive, destructive growths that destroy the body from the inside out. One common method of treating the disease is chemotherapy, where … Continue reading

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