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Posts Tagged ‘ADULT’

STEM CELLS 101 – short

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on April 11, 2013 at 12:50 am

Transplanted adult dermal stem cells / Cellule...

STEM CELLS 101 – short

ADULT STEM CELL = ASC

  • SOURCE/DERIVED FROM•comes from
    blood, umbilical cords, bone marrow, placenta fat tissue, muscle, nasal
    neurological, breast milk, menstruation, dental pulp, lungs (new source!) and many more
  • PURPOSE IN BODY•they are the body’s natural healing cells
  • OBSTACLES+SIDE EFFECTS•~zero problems (virtually zero side effects)
  • TREATMENT HISTORY•used in bone marrow transplants to treat cancer for 40 years
  • TREATMENT HISTORY•can currently treat 130+ diseases safely and effectively (CP, MS, Autism, Diabetes, CHF, PAD, etc)

EMBRYONIC STEM CELL = ESC

  • SOURCE/DERIVED FROM•comes from embryos
  • PURPOSE IN BODY•split for 7 weeks until you have a fetus the size of a thumbnail
  • OBSTACLES+SIDE EFFECTS•they create
    cysts and tumors, rejection requires immunosuppressive drugs for the ill
    patient, they carry the genetic anomalies of the donor, etc
  • TREATMENT HISTORY•can currently treat zero diseases, probably need to cure cancer first to use them

INDUCED PLURIPOTENT STEM CELL = iPSC (“Embryonic Stem Cell Lite”)

  • SOURCE/DERIVED FROM•comes from regular adult cells like skin cells that are then transformed by scientists into stem cells
  • PURPOSE IN BODY•to be a skin cell or other tissue
  • OBSTACLES+SIDE EFFECTS•they create
    cysts and tumors, rejection requires immunosuppressive drugs for the ill
    patient, they carry the genetic anomalies of the donor…
  • TREATMENT HISTORY•no treatments to date, probably need to cure cancer first to use them

AMNIOTIC STEM CELLS HEAL INTESTINAL DISORDER

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 27, 2013 at 9:00 am

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Amniotic stem cells heal intestinal disorder that afflicts premature babies

A new study published in GUT (An International Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology) has shown that amniotic fluid stem cells can reverse intestinal damage in rats caused by necrotising enterocolitis — an often fatal disorder that afflicts premature babies.

Paolo De Coppi had already proved that amniotic fluid could be reprogrammed in a similar way to how we reprogram embryonic stem cells, and without introducing potentially damaging genes to instigate the transformation (how adult cells are made pluripotent). Though not quite as versatile as the embryonic version, De Coppi showed that they could be converted into liver, bone and nerve cells.

What’s interesting about this latest study is that the stem cells calmed the intestinal inflammation, healed and reversed damage done to the gut far better than bone marrow stem cells (used in a rate control group), and in an unexpected way. After being injected, the cells travelled to the tiny villi that line the intestinal walls and absorb nutrients, where it then released an unknown substance that triggered progenitor cells to calm the inflammation and instigate tissue and villi regrowth. The team is unsure exactly how it released a growth factor to kick the progenitor cells into action, but it’s hoping further studies could clear this up — that knowledge could then be used to develop drugs that replicate the same action.

In the meantime, De Coppi says, “we hope that stem cells found in amniotic fluid will be used more widely in therapies and in research, particularly for the treatment of congenital malformations”.

Necrotising enterocolitis is common in premature babies, with inflammation rapidly leading to tissue death and a perforated intestine if antibiotics have no effect. At that point, an operation is the only option and these have a 70 percent survival rate due to related risks of surgery at such a young age, and can leave infants with a shortened intestine and trouble eating for the rest of their lives. This latest study gives hope for an injectable, non-invasive solution.

Stem cells have already been shown to have some incredible properties for regenerative medicine — most recently baboon embryonic stem cells were used to repair damaged arteries. However, due the ethical grey area embryonic experiments reside in, progress has inevitably been slower, with the first official human trials only recently beginning to take place. Stem cells derived from amniotic fluid have huge potential, but would mainly still rely on donors given the impracticalities of storing fluid from every birth. Nevertheless, according to estimates published in a 2005 study, just 150 donors would provide a match for 38 percent of the population.

De Coppi, who in 2010 made headlines when he built an 11-year-old boy a trachea replacement from his own bone marrow stem cells, is currently raising funding for his research into building rejection-free transplants from stem cells.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-03/25/amniotic-fluid

Image: Shutterstock

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SCIENCE FICTION COMES ALIVE WITH ORGANS GROWN IN A LAB

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 26, 2013 at 9:00 am

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Building a complex human organ in the lab is no longer a dream of science fiction. At London’s Royal Free Hospital, a team of 30 scientists is manufacturing a variety of body parts, including windpipes, noses and ears. WSJ’s Gautam Naik reports. Photo: Gareth Phillips

Science Fiction Comes Alive as Researchers Grow Organs in Lab

MADRID—Reaching into a stainless steel tray, Francisco Fernandez-Aviles lifted up a gray, rubbery mass the size of a fat fist.  It was a human cadaver heart that had been bathed in industrial detergents until its original cells had been washed away and all that was left was what scientists call the scaffold.  Next, said Dr. Aviles, “We need to make the heart come alive.”

Inside a warren of rooms buried in the basement of Gregorio Marañón hospital here, Dr. Aviles and his team are at the sharpest edge of the bioengineering revolution that has turned the science-fiction dream of building replacement parts for the human body into a reality.  Since a laboratory in North Carolina made a bladder in 1996, scientists have built increasingly more complex organs. There have been five windpipe replacements so far. A London researcher, Alex Seifalian, has transplanted lab-grown tear ducts and an artery into patients. He has made an artificial nose he expects to transplant later this year in a man who lost his nose to skin cancer.

“The work has been extraordinarily pioneering,” said Sir Roy Calne, an 82-year-old British surgeon who figured out in the 1950s how to use drugs to prevent the body from rejecting transplanted organs.

Now, with the quest to build a heart, researchers are tackling the most complex organ yet. The payoff could be huge, both medically and financially, because so many people around the world are afflicted with heart disease. Researchers see a multi billion dollar market developing for heart parts that could repair diseased hearts and clogged arteries.

In additional to the artificial nose, Dr. Seifalian is making cardiovascular body parts. He sees a time when scientists would grow the structures needed for artery bypass procedures instead of taking a vein from another part the body. As part of a clinical trial, Dr. Seifalian plans to transplant a bio-engineered coronary artery into a person later this year. His employer, University College London, has designated a person to oversee any future commercialization of it and other man-made organs.

The development of lab-built body parts is being spurred by a shortage of organ donors amid rising demand for transplants. Also, unlike patients getting transplants, recipients of lab-built organs won’t have to take powerful anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives. That’s because the bio-engineered organs are built with the patients’ own cells.

Until the late 1980s, few scientists believed it would be possible to make human organs because it was a struggle to grow human cells in the laboratory. The task became easier once scientists figured out the chemicals—known as growth factors—that the body itself uses to promote cellular growth.

Scientists started out growing simple organs. In 1999, Anthony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., implanted lab-grown bladders into the first of several children with severely dysfunctional bladders. The organs have continued to function well for several years. Dr. Atala’s team now is trying to grow a whole range of bio-engineered parts, from simple blood vessels to human livers.

Some of the most complex work is under way at Dr. Seifalian’s laboratory.   A 56-year-old native of Iran, Dr. Seifalian started out as a nuclear physicist, and became interested in medical uses of nuclear technology. That ultimately led him to bioengineering.  In 2011, Dr. Seifalian made a windpipe from a patient’s cells. It was used to replace the cancerous windpipe of the patient, saving his life, his surgeon has said.

Dr. Seifalian and 30 scientists now seek to build a larynx, ears, noses, urethras and bile ducts  Most human organs get their form from an internal scaffolding of collagen and other proteins. Scientists struggled for years to find a replacement material that was strong and flexible and yet wouldn’t be rejected by the bodyEventually, they homed in on a couple of high-tech materials made from plant fibers, resins and other substances. Dr. Seifalian said he uses a material that is modeled on the honeycomb structure of a butterfly’s wing. The material, a so-called nanocomposite, is resistant to infectious bacteria and has pores that are the right size to hold cells.  “The material has to be accepted by the body, but it also has to be easy to manipulate into different shapes, different strengths,” said Dr. Seifalian.

The nose in the jar was closely modeled on the nose of a 53-year-old Briton. With the help of imaging scans and a glass mold designed by an artist, researchers first fabricated a replica of the original nose. The patient was asked if he wanted a slight deviation in his septum to be straightened out, but he turned down the offer, according to Dr. Seifalian.  The researchers poured the material into the artist’s mold. They added salt and sugar. That created holes in the material and gave it a spongy, porous feel, just like the real thing.  The key to all the lab-built organs are stem cells, found in human bone marrow, fat and elsewhere. Stem cells can be transformed into other tissues of the body, making them the basic building blocks for any organ.

In the case of the nose, stem cells extracted from the patient’s fat tissue were added to the artist’s mold, along with chemicals that control cell development. The stem cells sat inside the pores of the lab-made organ and gradually differentiated into cells that make cartilage.  However, the nose was missing a crucial piece: skin.  This posed a substantial hurdle. No one has made natural human skin from scratch. Dr. Seifalian’s idea: to implant the nose under the skin of the patient’s forehead in the hope that skin tissue there would automatically sheath the nose.

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But the patient objected, and for good reason: The implanted nose would have to sit inside his forehead for weeks or even months. In the end, Dr. Seifalian chose a less obtrusive approach. The bio-engineered nose was implanted under the patient’s forearm.  The team now is using imaging equipment to keep tabs on whether the necessary blood vessels, skin and cartilage are forming in the right way. “We’ll have to also make sure there’s no infection,” Dr. Seifalian said in late November, on the day of the patient’s surgery.  If the skin graft works, surgeons will remove the nose from the arm and attach it to the patient’s face. Dr. Seifalian will then apply the right chemicals to convert the man’s stem cells into epithelial cells, a common type of tissue found in the nose and in the lining of other organs. The epithelial cells will be inserted into the nose.  As a final step, surgeons will connect blood vessels from the face to the site of the new nose to provide a steady flow of nourishment for the growing cells. “The whole process could take six months,” said Dr. Seifalian. He estimates the cost of making the nose in the lab is about $40,000, but the patient isn’t being charged because the doctors and scientists are either donating their time or working on this as part of their research.

Dr. Seifalian said the new nose could restore some sense of smell to the patient, but its main benefit will be cosmetic. He held up a jar full of early-stage lab-made noses, and another filled with early-stage ears.

“We’re actually in the process of making a synthetic face,” he said. From a cosmetic point of view, “if you can make the ear and the nose, there’s not much left.”  Regenerating a nose would be a striking achievement; creating a complex organ like the heart would be historic. A team led by Spain’s Dr. Aviles is trying to get there first.

Dr. Aviles trained as a cardiologist but became frustrated with the difficulty of treating patients with advanced heart disease. The only option for the worst cases was a heart transplant, and there was a shortage of hearts. Spain has the highest donor rate in the world, yet Dr. Aviles said that only about 10% of patients who need a heart transplant get one.

He was approached in 2009 by a U.S. scientist, Doris Taylor, who had already grown a beating rat heart in the lab while at the University of Minnesota. Instead of using a man-made scaffold, Dr. Taylor had used the scaffolding from an actual rat heart as the starting point. She believed the same technique was crucial for making a working human heart. She was attracted to Spain because the higher donor rate meant that more hearts unsuitable for transplant could be used for experiments.

Dr. Aviles and about 10 colleagues began their human-heart experiments crammed into a small storage room at the hospital. In 2010, a sparkling new lab opened. It has two large freezers with human cells and human hearts, and a dozen stainless steel sinks containing pig hearts immersed in a colorless liquid.  Growing a heart is much harder than, say, growing a windpipe, because the heart is so big and has several types of cells, including those that beat, those that form blood vessels, and those that help conduct electrical signals. For a long time, scientists didn’t know how to make all the cells grow in the right place and in the right order.

The problem had been cracked by Dr. Taylor. She said that when human stem cells were put into a heart scaffold in 2010, they seemed to know just where to go. “They organized themselves in a way I didn’t believe,” said Dr. Taylor, who now works at the Texas Heart Institute but makes regular visits to Madrid to help with the experiments. “It’s amazing that the [scaffold] can be as instructional as it is. Maybe we don’t need to micromanage every aspect of this.”

Dr. Aviles said he hopes to have a working, lab-made version ready in five or six years, but the regulatory and safety hurdles for putting such an organ in a patient will be high. The most realistic scenario, he said, is that “in about 10 years” his lab will be transplanting heart parts.

He and his team already have grown early-stage valves and patches that could be used some day to repair tissue damaged by heart attack..  The Madrid lab has made only baby steps toward its grand plan to grow a human heart using the same techniques that Dr. Taylor pioneered with a rat heart.

“We opened the door and showed it was possible,” she said. “This is no longer science-fiction. It’s becoming science.”

A version of this article appeared March 22, 2013, on page A1 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Science Fiction Comes Alive As Researchers Grow Organs in Lab.

STEM CELL THERAPY INCREASES SUCCESS RATE OF LIVER TRANSPLANTS

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on March 20, 2013 at 9:00 am

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Stem cell therapy is new hope for liver transplant patients

Stem cell therapy has been found useful in over 60 per cent of the patients due for liver transplant, as per a paper submitted by doctors at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi recently. Not only is the treatment less cumbersome and risky, its cost is also comparatively very reasonable.

According to the paper’s principal author and chairman of the Department of Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases at the Hospital, Dr. Anil Arora, a large number of patients requiring liver transplantation cannot afford it for two reasons – cost and donor availability.

In view of the logistical problems faced by such patients, Dr. Arora said: “We started looking at the feasibility of alternative methods like using reserve cells in the body for such treatment, as it costs even less.  Some of these cells can be mobilized from the bone marrow as it has the capacity to regenerate the cells. So we stimulate the bone marrow by an injection.”

“This injection is given for five days and it mobilizes the bone marrow and some of the cells. They then come into the blood circulation. In the study we tried to filter these cells from the blood marrow using a specialized filtering machine and the concentrate of these cells. About 5 ml to 10 ml of the blood containing these concentrated group of cells were then injected into the hepatic artery, which supplies blood to the liver,” explained Dr. Arora. He said this process was carried out by a number of different mechanisms and it proved quite successful. “We started about two years ago and finished last year. Then these patients were followed up for another one year and we were happy to see a significant proportion of the patients having substantial improvement in the liver functions as assessed by a score called ‘Child score’.”

Dr. Arora said, “All patients tolerated the treatment well without any side effects. Of the 10 patients, six to seven benefited. So we believe that more frequent administration of the stem cells in large number might have a more beneficial impact.”

While the study by the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital team was published this year and was approved by the Department of Biotechnology and Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, Dr. Arora said there is also other published data now which calls for “stimulating the bone marrow and letting the cells automatically go into the liver”. By this, he said, you avoid filtering and putting the blood with the stem cells into the liver. “This is also equally beneficial.”

Dr. Arora said stem cell therapy “might act as a bridge for liver transplant” and can provide some time to the patients to arrange for treatment. But just like a damaged car tire, he said, a damaged liver after minor repairs has to be replaced. “However, if a person stops taking liquor or if the therapy goes on well, then a patient can lead a healthy life for many more years.”

http://www.thehindu.com

Parkinson’s patients fund their own stem cell research

In BUSINESS OF STEM CELLS, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

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Healing Parkinson’s patients with their own stem cells

Up to 1 million Americans have Parkinson’s, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Because aging is the chief risk factor for the disease, the patient population is expected to increase as the baby boom generation gets older.  Parkinson’s selectively kills brain cells that make the neurotransmitter dopamine, which enables movement. No one knows how it happens, or how to stop it. Researchers expect that transplanted dopamine-producing brain cells will eventually die, but perhaps not for 10 to 15 years.

The most visible symptoms of Parkinson’s include tremors, slowed movement, stooped posture and loss of balance, and trouble speaking. People sometimes walk with a shuffling gait, and they may experience severe and chronic pain. Patients’ faces can assume a mask-like expression.  Drugs that provide dopamine or mimic its effects can partially relieve the symptoms, but they produce side effects such as uncontrolled movement. Also, their effectiveness decreases over time.

A groundbreaking stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s disease is getting close to moving from lab research in La Jolla to therapy for patients. The research, funded by the patients and their supporters, could also pioneer a new model for moving medical advances from the lab into the clinic.

Eight Parkinson’s patients have allied with scientists from The Scripps Research Institute and medical professionals from Scripps Clinic for the project, which involves creating new brain cells from other cells in their own bodies. Because of the unusual, personalized nature of the research, the patients are participating with scientists and doctors as equals, meeting regularly to review the progress.

The ambitious goal is to relieve the movement difficulties Parkinson’s causes by replacing the brain cells the disease destroys. In theory, it would restore near-normal movement for a decade or more, and the procedure could be repeated as needed.

Research is far enough along that scientists and health care professionals in the project are talking to regulators about beginning clinical trials, perhaps as soon as next year.

The replacement brain cells are now being grown in a lab at The Scripps Research Institute. Patches of skin the diameter of a pencil eraser were removed from the patients’ arms and turned into a new kind of stem cell that acts like embryonic stem cells. Called induced pluripotent stem cells, they were discovered in 2006, a feat honored by a Nobel Prize last year.

These IPS cells can become nearly any kind of cell in the body… Another potential advantage of IPS cells over embryonic stem cells is that they should be less prone to rejection by the patients’ immune systems, because the transplanted cells come from the individuals themselves.

Patient Cassandra Peters, 57, learned of the reality of Parkinson’s and the hope of a new treatment in a visit with Dr. Houser, her neurologist.  “Interestingly, when I first had a conversation with her, when she definitively told me I had Parkinson’s, she said to me, quote, “You will have a stem cell procedure in your lifetime.”  I took that ball and held it in my heart, thinking, this is going to be my ‘get out of jail free’ card.  Not a day goes by when I don’t have an opportunity to share what I’m going through now and what the future might hold,” Peters said.

Ileana Slavin, a research associate in the lab of Jeanne Loring, and Suzanne Peterson, a staff scientist, discuss what it means for scientists to directly meet the people they’re trying to help.  Diabetes researcher Matthias von Herrath of the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology said the work could help scientists developing stem cell therapies for diabetics,” von Herrath said. “And that’s going to open the door for these type of stem cells.”

Loring’s researchers are reaching the final stages of their part of the project. They have made induced pluripotent stem cells from all eight patients, and have turned those into the needed brain cells for two of them. The work continues for the other six.

Parkinson’s represents the “low-hanging fruit” of neurological diseases for stem cell therapy.  We know what cell types are lost in Parkinson’s disease,” Bratt-Leal said in a March 8 meeting of the group. “We can make them from stem cells.  And now we can make stem cells from adult tissues.  The next logical step is to make these cells from people and put them back into them.”

“With IPS cells grown from the patient, rejection should be less of a worry”, Bratt-Leal said.

Now that the research side of the project has overcome its greatest hurdles, the focus is shifting to medicine, Loring said. The replacement brain cells will be grown in a clinical grade facility at the City of Hope in Los Angeles.  As part of the transition to the medical side, Houser will provide expertise in setting up the clinical trial, assuming approval is granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Beyond the potential benefit to the eight patients, the project may provide an answer to what Loring and other researchers call the “Valley of Death,” the period that halts promising research before it can become a medical treatment.  Most scientific research is federally funded, but commercialization is left to the private sector. If companies don’t see a way to make money, they won’t pursue a therapy, even if it works.  This problem is especially forbidding for treatments customized to individual patients. These don’t produce economies of scale, and hence are not attractive to pharmaceutical companies.  Advocates of the customized Parkinson’s therapy said it will pay off in the long run. Patients will require less medical care, and find it easier to maintain their jobs.

To Read Full Article click HERE.

STEM CELLS USED TO RESTORE WOMEN’S FERTILITY

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 14, 2013 at 9:00 am

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Egg-producing stem cells found in human ovaries

Scientists say they have found a way to use ovarian stem cells to perhaps one day help infertile women get pregnant — or add years to a woman’s reproductive cycle.

In a study published in Nature Medicine, researchers report finding egg-producing stem cells in human ovaries. They also report being able to make some of those ovarian stem cells grow into immature eggs that may someday be useful for reproduction.  At this point, such “seed” eggs can’t be fertilized by sperm. But if scientists are able to entice them to mature and can prove they can be fertilized and grow into embryos — a feat that has been reported in mice — it would overturn a long-held scientific belief that women can’t make new eggs as they get older.

“What it does is really open a door into human reproduction that 10 years ago didn’t even exist,” says researcher Jonathan L. Tilly, PhD, director of the Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, in Boston.

Outside experts agree. They say the findings could have profound importance for reproductive medicine and aging, allowing doctors not only to restore a woman’s fertility but also to potentially delay menopause.  “I think the significance of this work is like reporting that we found microorganisms on Mars,” says Kutluk Oktay, MD, who directs the Division of Reproductive Medicine and the Institute for Fertility Preservation at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y.

“It’s a proof of principle that they could do it,” says David F. Albertini, PhD, director of the Center for Reproductive Sciences at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.

The egg-generating stem cells the researchers were able to extract from ovaries were very rare. The researchers only came across one for every 10,000 or so ovarian cells that they counted.  But when they took those cells and implanted them back into human ovarian tissue, they divided and essentially made young eggs.

Tilly says his team stopped short of trying to make one of the eggs functional because “for a lot of reasons, as it should be,” it is illegal in the U.S. to experimentally fertilize human eggs.

“We think the evidence provided clearly indicates that this very unique, newly discovered pool of cells does exist in women,” he says.

“It’s a really exciting result,” says Evelyn Telfer, PhD, a cell biology expert at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.  “What we’ve previously believed is that you don’t get new eggs formed during your adult life. This discovery shows that there’s the potential for them to be formed, no question about that,” Telfer says, “but it doesn’t actually show that they’re being formed under normal conditions.”

Indeed, she notes, experience would suggest otherwise. Women, after all, do lose their fertility as they age.  “There are cells there that under certain conditions have the potential to form [eggs]. That’s the really exciting part of this work. And of course they can be used. There’s a practical application,” she says.

Telfer has pioneered a technique that allows her to take immature human eggs and turn them into mature, fertilizable eggs outside the body. She has already partnered with Tilly to try to take his “seed” eggs to the next stage of development. With special government permission, she says, they may even be able to try to experimentally fertilize the eggs.

“It’s actually opening up a whole new field of research, to define these cells, to characterize these cells, and to use them in a practical way,” she says.

Tilly says that by using egg-generating stem cells to make large numbers of viable eggs, doctors might one day be able to cut the expense of in vitro fertilization (IVF), since women would no longer have to go through multiple cycles of treatment to harvest enough eggs to generate a pregnancy.

WebMD Health News

PLURIPOTENT CELLS DISCOVERED IN ADULT BREAST TISSUE

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 12, 2013 at 9:00 am

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The top middle panel shows endogenous pluripotent somatic (ePS) cells, which can give rise to many tissue derivatives, including pancreas, bone, intestine, breast and cartilage cells.

“More evidence that any part of the body associated with reproduction has powerful stem cells with significant regenerative abilities!” – DG

New Type of Pluripotent Cell Discovered In Adult Breast Tissue

UC San Francisco researchers have found that certain rare cells extracted from adult breast tissue can be instructed to become different types of cells – a discovery that could have important potential for regenerative medicine.  As with human embryonic stem cells, the newly found cells are pluripotent, or capable of turning into most cell types, the authors said. The scientists discovered that when the cells were put either in mice, or in cell culture, the cells could differentiate to produce multiple cell types, including those that proceed to make heart, intestine, brain, pancreas and even cartilage.  The finding is significant, the authors said, because scientists previously believed that pluripotent cells did not exist in the body after the embryonic stage of human development.

“The ability of cells from an adult body to make so many tissue derivatives was completely unexpected,” said senior author Thea D. Tlsty, PhD, a UCSF professor of pathology. “When we saw that they could make cartilage, bone, gut, brain, pancreas cells – and even beating heart tissue – we were excited and intrigued.”

Though the newly discovered cells share some characteristics of embryonic stem cells, they appear to be unique to themselves, said Tlsty. They are mortal and genetically stable – characteristics that are barriers to subsequent cancer formation, which is a factor that could prove valuable if the cells are to be used for regenerative medicine, she explained. By contrast, human embryonic stem cells as well as engineered induced pluripotent stem cells, also known as iPS cells, are immortal and genetically unstable.

Additionally, the cells can expand to an extensive yet finite number before they stop growing. One cell can grow for almost 60 population doublings, producing in excess of one billion daughter cells, conceptually providing enough cells to help in the recovery of damaged or diseased tissue.  The scientists are currently searching for the rare cells in other organs of the body. They hypothesize that these “universal patch kits” are scattered throughout the body of adult men and women.

The special cells were discovered and isolated in healthy breast tissue from women of various ages and ethnicities who were undergoing breast reductions. All tissues used in the study were devoid of visible disease or contamination.

From Breast Tissue to Beating Heart Cells

Even a single one of these endogenous pluripotent somatic (ePS) cells, when placed in the appropriate conditions, exhibited the same pluripotent power to self-renew and to generate multiple lineages – both in vitro and in vivo – as embryonic stem cells. The cells could develop into any of the three germ layers: endoderm (such as the pancreas and gastrointestinal tract), the mesoderm (bone, heart muscle, blood vessel), or ectoderm (breast tissues and nervous system).

For example, when properly instructed, some ePS cells made human breast tissue that produced milk in transplanted mice, while other cells generated cartilage structures. To the surprise of the researchers, when the cells were differentiated into heart muscle, they even demonstrated the spontaneous beating seen in cardiomyocytes, or “beating heart” cells.

“The cells we describe here exist in the body devoid of commitment,” the authors wrote. “Taken together, these studies provide morphological, molecular and functional evidence of lineage plasticity of these cells. They will make human milk, bone, fat – they will beat like a heart.”

Only a small fraction of certain mammary cells have “this complete and sustained” unique profile capable of morphing themselves, the researchers said.

“Future research will tell us if we lose access to these cells as we age, if they are found in all tissues, and if they can be used to rescue diseased tissues,” said Tlsty.

“The observation that rare cells within an adult human body have the capacity to differentiate into many tissue types under different physiological cues will facilitate a fascinating area of research into the physiology and therapeutic potential of these cells,” said lead author Somdutta Roy, PhD, Department of Pathology and the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.

To read entire article – http://www.ucsf.edu

IBD PATIENTS SOON TO BE TREATED WITH STEM CELLS

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 4, 2013 at 9:02 am

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Research Supports Promise of Cell Therapy for Bowel Disease

Researchers have identified a special population of adult stem cells in bone marrow that have the natural ability to migrate to the intestine and produce intestinal cells, suggesting their potential to restore healthy tissue in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Up to 1 million Americans have IBD, which is characterized by frequent diarrhea and abdominal pain. IBD actually refers to two conditions — ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease — in which the intestines become red and swollen and develop ulcers, probably as the result of the body having an immune response to its own tissue.

While there is currently no cure for IBD, there are drug therapies aimed at reducing inflammation and preventing the immune response. Because these therapies aren’t always effective, scientists hope to use stem cells to develop an injectable cell therapy to treat IBD.  The research findings are reported online in the FASEB Journal (the journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) by senior researcher Graca Almeida-Porada, M.D., Ph.D., professor of regenerative medicine at Wake Forest Baptist’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and colleagues.

The new research complements a 2012 report by Almeida-Porada’s team that identified stem cells in cord blood that are involved in blood vessel formation and also have the ability to migrate to the intestine.  “We’ve identified two populations of human cells that migrate to the intestine — one involved in blood vessel formation and the other that can replenish intestinal cells and modulates inflammation,” said Almeida-Porada. “Our hope is that a mixture of these cells could be used as an injectable therapy to treat IBD.”

The cells would theoretically induce tissue recovery by contributing to a pool of cells within the intestine. The lining of the intestine has one of the highest cellular turnover rates in the body, with all cell types being renewed weekly from this pool of cells, located in an area of the intestine known as the crypt.  In the current study, the team used cell markers to identify a population of stem cells in human bone marrow with the highest potential to migrate to the intestine and thrive. The cells express high levels of a receptor (ephrin type B) that is involved in tissue repair and wound closure.

The cells also known to modulate inflammation were injected into fetal sheep at 55 to 62 days gestation. At 75 days post-gestation, the researchers found that most of the transplanted cells were positioned in the crypt area, replenishing the stem cells in the intestine.

“Previous studies in animals have shown that the transplantation of bone-marrow-derived cells can contribute to the regeneration of the gastrointestinal tract in IBD,” said Almeida-Porada.

http://www.wakehealth.edu

STASH OF STEM CELLS FOUND IN A HUMAN PARASITE

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 25, 2013 at 9:00 am
A composite image of a scanning electron micrograph of a pair of male and female Schistosoma mansoni with the outer tegument (skin) of the male worm "peeled back" (digitally) to reveal the stem cells (orange) underneath.

A composite image of a scanning electron micrograph of a pair of male and female Schistosoma mansoni with the outer tegument (skin) of the male worm “peeled back” (digitally) to reveal the stem cells (orange) underneath.

Stash of Stem Cells Found in a Human Parasite

The parasites that cause schistosomiasis, one of the most common parasitic infections in the world, are notoriously long-lived. Researchers have now found stem cells inside the parasite that can regenerate worn-down organs, which may help explain how they can live for years or even decades inside their host.

Schistosomiasis is acquired when people come into contact with water infested with the larval form of the parasitic worm Schistosoma, known as schistosomes. Schistosomes mature in the body and lay eggs that cause inflammation and chronic illness. Schistosomes typically live for five to six years, but there have been reports of patients who still harbor parasites decades after infection.  According to new research from Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator Phillip Newmark, collections of stem cells that can help repair the worms’ bodies as they age could explain how the worms survive for so many years. The new findings were published online on February 20, 2013, in the journal Nature.

The stem cells that Newmark’s team found closely resemble stem cells in planaria, free-living relatives of the parasitic worms. Planaria rely on these cells, called neoblasts, to regenerate lost body parts. Whereas most adult stem cells in mammals have a limited set of possible fates—blood stem cells can give rise only to various types of blood cells, for example —planarian neoblasts can turn into any cell in the worm’s body under the right circumstances.  Newmark’s lab at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has spent years focused on planaria, so they knew many details about planarian neoblasts —what they look like, what genes they express, and how they proliferate. They also knew that in uninjured planarians, neoblasts maintain tissues that undergo normal wear and tear over the worm’s lifetime.

“We began to wonder whether schistosomes have equivalent cells and whether such cells could be partially responsible for their longevity,” says Newmark.

Following this hunch, and using what they knew about planarian neoblasts, post-doctoral fellow Jim Collins, Newmark, and their colleagues hunted for similar cells in Schistosoma mansoni, the most widespread species of human-infecting schistosomes.  Their first step was to look for actively dividing cells in the parasites. To do this, they grew worms in culture and added tags that would label newly replicated DNA as cells prepare to divide; this label could later be visualized by fluorescence. Following this fluorescent tag, they saw a collection of proliferating cells inside the worm’s body, separate from any organs.

The researchers isolated those cells from the schistosomes and studied them individually. They looked like typical stem cells, filled with a large nucleus and a small amount of cytoplasm that left little room for any cell-type-specific functionality. Newmark’s lab observed the cells and found that they often divided to give rise to two different cells: one cell that continued dividing, and another cell that did not.  “One feature of stem cells,” says Newmark, “is that they make more stem cells; furthermore, many stem cells undergo asymmetric division.” The schistosomes cells were behaving like stem cells in these respects. The other characteristic of stem cells is that they can differentiate into other cell types.  To find out whether the schistosome cells could give rise to multiple types of cells, Newmark’s team added the label for dividing cells to mice infected with schistosomes, waited a week, and then harvested the parasites to see where the tag ended up. They could detect labeled cells in the intestines and muscles of the schistosomes, suggesting that stem cells incorporating the labels had developed into both intestinal and muscle cells.

Years of previous study on planarians by many groups paved the way for this type of work on schistosomes, Newmark says.

“The cells we found in the schistosome look remarkably like planarian neoblasts. They aren’t associated with any one organ, but can give rise to multiple cell types. People often wonder why we study the ‘lowly’ planarian, but this work provides an example of how basic biology can lead you, in unanticipated and exciting ways, to findings that are directly relevant to important public health problems.”

Newmark says the stem cells aren’t necessarily the sole reason schistosome parasites survive for so many years, but their ability to replenish multiple cell types likely plays a role. More research is needed to find out how the cells truly affect lifespan, as well as what factors in the mouse or human host spur the parasite’s stem cells to divide, and whether the parasites maintain similar stem cells during other stages of their life cycle.

The researchers hope that with more work, scientists will be able to pinpoint a way to kill off the schistosome stem cells, potentially shortening the worm’s lifespan and treating schistosome infections in people.

http://www.sciencedaily.com

PIONEERING??? Heart Study

In ALL ARTICLES, CATCH UP!, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 20, 2013 at 9:27 am

This makes me crazy.  Thousands, maybe tens of thousands treated to date successfully with studies going back to 2002 and they call this brand new study pioneering?  Consider the triple blind study protocol used:

  • 1/3 RECEIVE NOTHING AT ALL
  • 1/3 RECEIVE A PLACEBO
  • 1/3 RECEIVE STEM CELLS

The odds are not in his favor to even get the treatment.  It’s time to catch up to the rest of the world. – DG

DeBary man takes part in pioneering stem cell study

Dr. David Henderson, left, talks to his patient Robert Anderson, 64, of DeBary recently at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach. Anderson is participating in a clinical research trial that uses a patient’s own stem cells to regenerate cardiovascular tissue. He was the first patient to enroll in the clinical study that started in December at Cardiology Research Associates of Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center.

News-Journal/STEVEN NOTARAS

By
STAFF WRITER
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013 at 5:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 5:41 p.m.

DAYTONA BEACH — At 44, Robert Anderson’s career as a chemical engineer was cut short due to pain in his chest and jaw.

A few years earlier doctors had performed bypass surgery on Anderson to repair the deteriorating muscle around his heart. Like 850,000 Americans, Anderson suffers from angina, which causes chest discomfort due to coronary heart disease.

But the surgery was a temporary fix for Anderson, whose diabetes worsened his heart condition. As the pain in his jaw and chest increased when he walked, the DeBary resident was forced into early retirement.

For the past 20 years, Anderson’s life has been limited by his heart condition, which has only worsened.

With no surgical options left, Anderson is hoping his participation in a clinical research trial that uses a patient’s own stem cells to regenerate cardiovascular tissue will improve his quality of life. Some patients taking part in the study also were injected with a placebo…

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