Whitehead what are adult stem cells

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Adult stem cells may be free of the ethical concerns that hamper embryonic stem cell research, but they still pose formidable scientific challenges. Chief among these is the doggedness with which adult stem cells differentiate into mature tissue the moment they're isolated from the body. This makes it nearly impossible for researchers to multiply them in the laboratory. And because adult stem cells are so rare, that makes it difficult to use them for treating disease. Now, researchers in the lab of Whitehead Institute Member and MIT professor of biology Harvey Lodish have discovered a way to multiply an adult stem cell fold, an expansion that offers tremendous promise for treatments such as bone marrow transplants and perhaps even gene therapy.
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A more ethical way to harvest stem cells? Scientists are in hot pursuit.

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Frozen blood a source of stem cells, study finds | Reuters

The protein Oct4 plays a major role in embryonic stem cells, acting as a master regulator of the genes that keep the cells in an undifferentiated state. Unsurprisingly, researchers studying adult stem cells have long suspected that Oct4 also is critical in allowing these cells to remain undifferentiated. Indeed, more than 50 studies have reported finding Oct4 activity in adult stem cells. But those findings are misleading, according to research in the lab of Whitehead Member Rudolf Jaenisch. In a paper published online in Cell Stem Cells on October 10, postdoctoral fellow Christopher Lengner has shown that Oct4 is not required to maintain adult stem cells in their undifferentiated state in mice, and that adult tissues function normally in the absence of Oct4.
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Whitehead Institute

Pluripotent cells in the embryo can generate all cell types, but lineage-restricted cells are generally thought to replenish adult tissues. Planarians are flatworms and regenerate from tiny body fragments, a process requiring a population of proliferating cells neoblasts. Whether regeneration is accomplished by pluripotent cells or by the collective activity of multiple lineage-restricted cell types is unknown.
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Some tissues in the adult body, such as the epidermis of the skin, the lining of the small intestine , and bone marrow , undergo continuous cellular turnover. The stem cells exist in niches formed by other cells, which secrete substances that keep the stem cells alive and active. Some types of tissue, such as liver tissue, show minimal cell division or undergo cell division only when injured.
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