Teaching plan for the course unit



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General information


Course unit name: Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine

Course unit code: 569910

Academic year: 2021-2022

Coordinator: Daniel Tornero Prieto

Department: Faculty of Medicine

Credits: 3

Single program: No definit



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 75


Face-to-face and/or online activities



-  Lecture with practical component

Face-to-face and online



Supervised project


Independent learning




Teaching blocks


1. Tissue regeneration

1.1. Regeneration in nature

• What is regeneration? Types of regenerative/repair responses after tissue damage or loss; Classical models of regeneration; Appearance of regeneration as a scientific discipline in the eighteenth century; Regeneration in the post-genomic era; Key questions in regeneration research; Regeneration and asexual reproduction; Phylogenetic distribution of regeneration
• Wound healing: Scarring vs scarless wound healing; Epidermis and epithelial/mesenchyme interactions to trigger a regenerative response; How is axial polarity re-established? The role of the Wnt/B-catenin pathway in AP polarity in Hydra and planarians; The role of the BMP pathway on DV polarity in planarians
• Growth and pattern formation during regeneration: epimorphosis vs morphallaxis; The origin of the regenerative cells: stem cells (planarians) vs dedifferentiation (amphibians and zebrafish)
• Role of the nervous system in regeneration (nerve-dependency of amphibian limb regeneration); Is conserved neural role required for planarian regeneration? Early events during regeneration: ROS (reactive oxygen species) and apoptosis as triggers for regeneration in vertebrates and Hydra

2. Stem cells in mammals

2.1. Stem cells in mammals

• Bases of cell therapy; Possible applications of cell therapy; Concept and definition of stem cells; Embryonic layers; Types of stem cells; Possible sources of cells
• Cultures of stem cells; Concepts of self-renewal and expansion

2.2. Pluripotent stem cells

• Embryonic stem cells; Obtaining stem cells; Obtaining and growth techniques; Formation of teratomas and possible solutions
• Cellular reprogramming; Induced pluripotent stem cells; Therapeutic cloning; Problems and advantages; Applications of IPSC in drug validation; Direct reprogramming

2.3. Hematopoietic stem cells

• Hematopoietic stem cells; History of the treatment of blood diseases; Use of hematopoietic stem cells; Problems and benefits of treatment with HSC; Definition of autologous and heterologous transplantation

2.4. Mesenchymal stem cells

• Mesenchymal stem cells: bone marrow and fat derived MSCs; Concept of transdifferentiation; Autoimmune diseases; Immuno-modulator role of mesenchymal stem cells; Example of Crohn’s disease
• Cell vaccine: Definition and potential disease target; Obtaining immune cells; Antigen presentation

2.5. Neural stem cells

• Location of stem cells in the adult brain; Stem cells located in specific niches: subventricular zone (SVZ) and dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus; Analysis of the nature, dynamics and regulation of ZSV and GD stem cells
• Changes in proliferation, differentiation and migration of stem cells against insult or injury to the brain; Changes observed in various neurological and psychiatric diseases considered endogenous responses

2.6. Cancer stem cells

• Evidence of CSC; Origin of CSC; Cancer stem cell isolation; Heterogeneity (CSC markers); Metastatic cancer stem cells

3. Stem cell differentiation

3.1. In vitro expansion of stem cells

• Techniques of stem cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation for pluripotent and somatic stem cells

3.2. Stem cell differentiation

• Intrinsic and extrinsic factors; Genetic modifications; Candidate genes for differentiation; Differentiation of pancreatic cells; Differentiation of cardiac cells; Neuronal differentiation 

3.3. Genetic modification of stem cells

• DNA/RNA transfer strategies: transgene addition and inhibition of endogenous gene expression; Non viral and viral vectors
• Transient and stable gene transfer; Targeted and non-targeted insertion of the transgene into cell chromosomes
• Markers and selector genes

3.4. Selection of stem cells

• Surface markers; Cell selection techniques
• Introduction of genetic markers; Introduction to the BACs, YACs, Zing-fingers

3.5. Transplantation and tracking of stem cells

• Cell transplant; Differentiation vs. survival
• Non-invasive in vivo monitoring techniques; Magnetic resonance and luminescence

3.6. Scaffolds

• Scaffolds: natural vs. artificial
• Organ and tissue decellularization; Enzymatic and chemical treatments of organic material; Obtaining material from postmortem tissues; Recellularizing organs
• Artificial scaffolds; Natural biomaterial; Synthetic biomaterial

4. Clinical applications

4.1. Consolidated therapies and clinical applications 

• Problems in cell therapy for hematologic diseases; Graft versus host disease (GvHD); Possible solutions
• Cell therapy for musculoskeletal system; Applications of condrocytes for cartilage regeneration; The use of scaffolds in musculoskeletal damage
• Cell therapy for eye diseases; Expansion of limbal cells; Use of amniotic membrane; Artificial scaffolds

4.2. Legislation

• Definition of advanced therapies; European legislation; Adaptation to Spanish law
• The Spanish Drug Agency; The National Transplant Organization
• GMP manipulation measures; Design of cell cultures facilities; Protocols and clinical trial