About this Research Topic
Adult stem cells have become an exciting discovery in regenerative biology and an excellent tool in regenerative medicine. Their finely tuned regulation mechanisms ensuring human body support throughout the lifetime have been a hot topic in cell biology for several decades and a major hurdle in many translational studies using cell therapies. Indeed, regenerative medicine demonstrated sophisticated technological advances and a number of disappointing results in clinical trials. At the same time basic studies in developmental and regenerative biology highlighted that microenvironment and tissue-specific conditions are crucial for stem cell function and support their regenerative capacity.
Indeed, many regulatory circuits and factors important for stem/progenitor cells exist only in the tissue and isolated cells lacking their influence fail to retain their native traits leading to failures in both fundamental and translational studies. This brought significant attention to molecular, metabolic, physical, chemical and other factors that compose the microenvironment known as the stem cell niche. In recent years it resulted in development of many original fundamental concepts and approaches that recapitulate these factors ex vivo using tissue engineering, biomaterials, cell-based models, etc.
The overall concept is that the microenvironment of adult stem cells acts as an interface that defines stem cell fate and its dysfunction triggers oncogenesis, abnormal tissue growth or distorted regeneration after damage. Thus, investigation in that field is important for both cell biology and regenerative medicine and shifts the paradigm from isolated stem cell research to a more physiological approach studying the adult stem cell in its natural or model microenvironment.
Under this Research Topic, we aim to assemble a collection of cutting-edge communications that will broaden our understanding of molecular and genetic mechanisms that govern stem cells fate and function in natural and artificial microenvironments.
Original research, reviews, mini-reviews, study protocols and hypotheses papers are welcome covering, but not limited to, the following sub-topics:
- Molecular and genetic patterns that regulate function of adult stem cells in vivo and in artificial microenvironments (organoids, cell sheets, engineered constructs, etc.)
- Stem cell niche – recent advances in understanding its mechanism of function and tissue-specific organization
- Novel biomaterials and other artificial microenvironments that support adult stem cells
- Functionalization and genome editing of stem cells to facilitate or control their function and differentiation ex vivo
- Modulation of stem cell environment by small molecules or physical/chemical factors to control adult stem cell fate
We encourage cell/developmental biologists, chemists and biomaterial specialists as well as experts in 3D-culture, organoids, niche and tissue modelling to join the discussion to foster a fruitful topic.
Keywords: Stem Cell Niche, Tissue Engineering, Cell Signalling, Regeneration, Stem Cell Differentiation
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.