Stem cells are fundamental units for achieving regenerative therapies, which leads naturally to a theoretical and experimental focus on these cells for therapeutic screening and intervention. A growing body of data in many tissue systems indicates that stem cell function is critically influenced by extrinsic signals derived from the microenvironment, or "niche." In this vein, the stem cell niche represents a significant, and largely untapped, entry point for therapeutic modulation of stem cell behavior. This Perspective will discuss how the niche influences stem cells in homeostasis, in the progression of degenerative and malignant diseases, and in therapeutic strategies for tissue repair.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Amy Wagers seeks to change the way we repair our tissues after an injury. Her research focuses on defining the factors and mechanisms that regulate the migration, expansion, and regenerative potential of adult blood-forming and muscle-forming stem cells.

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