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Overview

USC Stem Cell scientists are advancing our understanding of how the body develops, maintains and repairs the muscles, cartilage and skeleton. They are also using stem cells to find new regenerative therapies for conditions ranging from difficult-to-heal bone fractures to muscle injury, from birth defects to arthritis.

Statistics

  • Arthritis and other rheumatoid conditions are the leading cause of disability in the US.
  • Approximately 6.3 million bone fractures occur each year in the US.
  • The most common fracture prior to age 75 is a wrist fracture. In those over age 75, hip fractures become the most common broken bone and can lead to permanent disability.
  • Between 10% and 55% of muscle injuries occur during sports activities.
  • Cleft lip and cleft palate are among the most common birth defects, affecting approximately one or two in a thousand babies.

Researchers

News

Spine from a healthy mouse (left) and a mouse with genetically disrupted cartilage progenitor cells (Image by Dawei Geng and Tea Jashashvili)

Arthritis-related gene also regenerates cartilage in joints and growth plates

The IL-6 family of proteins has a bad reputation: it can promote inflammation, arthritis, autoimmune disease and even cancer. However, a new USC-led study published in Communications Biology reveals the importance of IL-6 and associated genes for maintaining and regenerating cartilage in both the joints and in the growth plates that enable skeletal growth in …

Confocal microscopy image of an adult zebrafish head with neural crest-derived cells in red. The Crump lab has used single-cell sequencing to understand how these cells build and repair the head skeleton, with implications for understanding human craniofacial birth defects and improving repair of skeletal tissues. (Image by Hung-Jhen Chen/Crump Lab)

A crowning achievement in understanding head development

Cranial neural crests cells, or CNCCs, contribute to many more body parts than their humble name suggests. These remarkable stem cells not only form most of the skull and facial skeleton in all vertebrates ranging from fish to humans, but also can generate everything from gills to the cornea. To understand this versatility, scientists from …

Frank Petrigliano, MD, and Denis Evseenko, MD, PhD, have been collaborating on medical innovations to help heal and even regenerate damaged joints. (Photo/Ricardo Carrasco III)

Stopping arthritis before it starts

A novel off-the-shelf bio-implant containing embryonic stem cells has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of cartilage injuries More than a million Americans undergo knee and hip replacements each year. It’s a last resort treatment for pain and mobility issues associated with osteoarthritis, a progressive disease caused by degeneration of the protective layer of cartilage …

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Multimedia

The Chen laboratory uses mouse genetics and human stem cells and organoids to study brain development and craniofacial neuroscience. The goal is to develop therapeutic strategies to treat developmental brain and craniofacial disorders.
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