What Can We Do With Skin Stem Cells?

What can be achieved through manipulation of skin stem cells? Quite a lot, it seems, and by virtue of its accessibility we might expect to see important techniques first pioneered in skin regeneration: "Recent advances in skin-resident [progenitor cell] research have revealed that these immature and regenerative cells with a high longevity provide critical functions in maintaining skin homeostasis and repair after severe injuries along the lifespan of individuals. ... enhanced ultraviolet radiation exposure, inflammation and oxidative stress and telomere attrition during chronological aging may induce severe DNA damages and genomic instability in the skin-resident [progenitor cells] and their progenies. ... The progressive decline in the regenerative functions and/or number of skin-resident [progenitor cells] may cause diverse skin diseases with advancing age. Moreover, the photoaging, telomerase re-activation and occurrence of different oncogenic events in skin-resident [progenitor cells] may also culminate in their malignant transformation into [cancer stem cells] and skin cancer initiation and progression. Therefore, the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant treatments and stem cell-replacement and gene therapies as well as the molecular targeting of their malignant counterpart, skin cancer-initiating cells offer great promise to treat diverse skin disorders and cancers."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19725922

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