Stem Cell Protein Secretions Recorded in Real Time
Researchers at the Dental Medicine School in UConn used the latest in technology to observe real-time cellular communication, a process that can eventually lead us to understand cell secretion dynamics and the mechanism of tissue repair.
Assistant professor Kshitiz Gupta and post-doctoral fellow Yashir Suhail of Biomedical Engineering have arrived at a new technology platform. This technology is the world’s first equipment that allows scientists to record cell communication in real time, which potentially opens up new possibilities for cell biology, including stem cell therapy.
The study was published in the National Academy of Sciences’ Proceedings journal.
Cells have an innate ability to communicate with each other constantly. Unlike humans, cells receive and send messages via protein secretion and behavioral changes. When we listen to people conversing with each other, we understand the words and the flow of it. But in cell communication, key factors were not known until now.
Cell communication plays a vital part in maintaining most bodily functions. Moreover, it helps us respond to external stimuli, such as injuries and ailments. Current equipment can only show a snapshot of protein secretions, which Kshitiz describes as ‘similar to seeing the words in sentences but not knowing the tone, inflection and placement’. The assistant professor also added that before, the language that we have in regards to cell communication was very limited and therefore did not encapsulate the messages and its complexity.
The UConn researchers utilized computer modeling and microfluidics to create a platform that could record cell conversation in-depth. The new technology now allows scientists to determine the tone, words and messages within the intercellular setting.
Kshitiz and the team worked on stem cells collected from bone marrow as a potential treatment for myocardial infarction. The stem cell’s protein secretion and gradual changes were recorded with time using the platform. The study was funded by both the National Cancer Institute and the American Heart Association.
The resulting data led to a new discovery, one that found that an injury may be aided without using stem cells. The ‘conversations’ between cells gave the researchers the ability to copy the behavior of stem cells.
On a closer look, the UConn team gathered that stem cells have the flexibility to change ‘behavior’ depending on the present injury. Moreover, they discovered that stem cells only change when they find injured tissue.
Kshitiz adds that a ‘cell-less’ treatment can be made possible by copying the stem cell’s reaction when they see an injury in the form of a protein cocktail that can regenerate cardiac tissue. In turn, cell-less therapy can make things simpler by eliminating complications that come with stem cell transplantation.
Suhail says that the team’s findings have solved a fundamental problem that’s been plaguing systems biology for the longest time. The technological platform invariably opens up new possibilities and lines of inquiry by decoding the way cells communicate with each other at a level that was previously unforeseeable.
Stem cell therapy and ‘cell-less’ treatments are branching out and advancing, thanks to the new communication platform discovered by assistant professor Kshitiz Gupta, postdoctoral fellow Yashir Suhail, and the research team at UConn.
To your health,
The Healing Miracle Team
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