Researchers from Johns Hopkins University studied how immediate surroundings affect stem cells. Stem cells can develop into differentiated cells from their original state and therefore, hold a “promise of being used to replace damaged organs and muscle.” This study showcases how the application of stem cells could be greater, with more “reliable techniques to control how they take on specialized functions.” It was discovered that an enzyme, called aminopeptidase, located in the stem cell niche, helps keep stem cells in their original state by promoting specialized cells to transform into stem cells. This aids in the creation of more stem cells. However, it is still unclear how the stem cell niche performs this role.
Nevertheless, the results of this study could be crucial to future advances in medicine. Because it is possible for cell fate to change, in that specialized cells become stem cells by aminopeptidase, either from cues from the stem cell niche or randomly, then it could also be possible that random cell fate change can be a leading cause of cancer or other diseases.