stem-cell ecology

Open-access article via Nature,

"Linheng Li is learning to think like an ecologist. His study subjects put down roots near sources of nourishment and depend on other living things in their environment to thrive. But Li doesn't have mud on his boots. The 'species' he studies are stem cells and the 'ecosystem' is bone marrow."

and here I was thinking it was some sort of extremely functionally complex intelligent system at work...hmmh, so much for my high-school science classes!

"For some diseases that might, in theory, be treated using stem cells, no appropriate natural stem cell has yet been identified — type 1 diabetes, where the pancreas loses its insulin-secreting -cells, is the best-known example. Many researchers wonder whether an improved understanding of stem-cell microenvironments will provide clues about how to send stem cells down different developmental pathways, or reactivate quiescent stem cells. Perhaps a haematopoietic stem cell will give rise to a -cell if placed in a pancreas-like environment. Maybe one day it will even be possible to devise niche-altering drugs."

Interesting article, give it a read!