London, July 12 (ANI): A new approach to screening of drugs that target stem cells has been developed, which could eventually help in harnessing stem cells in regenerative medicine.
Professor Fiona Watt has developed this for adult skin stem cells, giving hope for new drugs to promote wound healing and aid the use of stem cells to, for example, treat severe burns.
"We are very interested in developing regenerative medicine as a way to heal our bodies when they can't heal themselves - when the damage from an injury or disease is too severe, for example," Nature quoted Watt as saying.
"In regenerative medicine we are often looking for ways to test a drug to see if it has the desired effect on stem cells.
"What we've developed is a technique that allows us to examine individual stem cells in such a way as we can learn about their biology and also screen new drugs for their potential to encourage stem cells to repair damaged tissues," he added.
This work has demonstrated how single stem cells can be encouraged to grow on finely-patterned surfaces in order to identify the biological messages that control their ability to divide and mature into any type of cell.
Watt concluded: "Our new technique involves studying a single cell in isolation, and that really helps us to identify the messages that ultimately drive the stem cell to divide or mature.
And, crucially, it also gives us a powerful way of screening drugs that encourage stem cells to repair damaged tissue"
The findings were published in Nature Cell Biology. (ANI)