DAVID GRANOVSKY

Posts Tagged ‘TREATMENT’

Vitamin C boosts the reprogramming of adult cells into stem cells « Health Research Report

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on January 24, 2014 at 8:05 am

November 8, 2012

Vitamin C boosts the reprogramming of adult cells into stem cells 1

http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/var/plain_site/storage/images/publications/food-beverage-nutrition/nutraingredients-usa.com/research/vitamin-c-rda-should-be-doubled-says-linus-pauling-institute-researcher/6914603-1-eng-GB/Vitamin-C-RDA-should-be-doubled-says-Linus-Pauling-Institute-researcher_strict_xxl.jpg

Famous for its antioxidant properties and role in tissue repair, vitamin C is touted as beneficial for illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer and perhaps even for slowing the aging process. Now, a study published online on December 24th by Cell Press in the journal Cell Stem Cell uncovers an unexpected new role for this natural compound: facilitating the generation of embryonic-like stem cells from adult cells.

Over the past few years, we have learned that adult cells can be reprogrammed into cells with characteristics similar to embryonic stem cells by turning on a select set of genes. Although the reprogrammed cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), have tremendous potential for regenerative medicine, the conversion is extremely inefficient.

“The low efficiency of the reprogramming process has hampered progress with this technology and is indicative of how little we understand it. Further, this process is most challenging in human cells, raising a significant barrier for producing iPSCs and serious concerns about the quality of the cells that are generated,” explains senior study author Dr. Duanqing Pei from the South China Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Pei and colleagues measured the production of reactive oxygen species or ROS during reprogramming and discovered a potential link between high ROS and low reprogramming efficiency. They became particularly interested in antioxidants, hypothesizing that they might suppress ROS and cell senescence, which seems to be a major roadblock for the generation of iPSCs.

The researchers found that adding vitamin C, an essential nutrient that is abundant in citrus fruits, enhanced iPSC generation from both mouse and human cells. Vitamin C accelerated gene expression changes and promoted a more efficient transition to the fully reprogrammed state. Somewhat to their surprise, they found that other antioxidants do not have the same effect, but vitamin C does seem to act at least in part through slowing cell senescence.

“Our results highlight a simple way to improve iPSC generation and provide additional insight into the mechanistic basis of reprogramming,” concludes Dr. Pei. “It is also of interest that a vitamin with long-suspected anti-aging effects has such a potent influence on reprogramming, which can be considered a reversal of the aging process at the cellular level. It is likely that our work may stimulate further research in this area as well.”

via Vitamin C boosts the reprogramming of adult cells into stem cells « Health Research Report.

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

032213bodyparts2_512x288

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.

 nose-growing-on-arm-omg

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

Liver-transplant-006

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

parkinsons

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

fertility-self

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

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

mix_bowel diagram

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

NEW STEM CELL TREATMENT STUDY FOCUSES ON PREVENTING SIGHT LOSS FROM DIABETICS

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

eye

Currently millions of diabetics worldwide are at risk of sight loss due to a condition called Diabetic Retinopathy. This is when high blood sugar causes the blood vessels in the eye to become blocked or to leak. Failed blood flow harms the retina and leads to vision impairment and if left untreated can lead to blindness.  Scientists at Queen’s University Belfast are hoping to develop a novel approach that could save the sight of millions of diabetes sufferers using adult stem cells.

The novel REDDSTAR study (Repair of Diabetic Damage by Stromal Cell Administration) involving researchers from Queen’s Centre for Vision and Vascular Science, will see them isolating stem cells from donors, expanding them in a laboratory setting and re-delivering them to a patient where they help to repair the blood vessels in the eye. This is especially relevant to patients with diabetes were the vessels of the retina become damaged.

At present there are very few treatments available to control the progression of diabetic complications. There are no treatments which will improve glucose levels and simultaneously treat the diabetic complication.  The research is being carried out with NUI Galway and brings together experts from Northern Ireland, Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal and the US.

Professor Alan Stitt, Director of the Centre for Vision and Vascular Science in Queen’s and lead scientist for the project said: “The Queen’s component of the REDDSTAR study involves investigating the potential of a unique stem cell population to promote repair of damaged blood vessels in the retina during diabetes. The impact could be profound for patients, because regeneration of damaged retina could prevent progression of diabetic retinopathy and reduce the risk of vision loss.

“Currently available treatments for diabetic retinopathy are not always satisfactory. They focus on end-stages of the disease, carry many side effects and fail to address the root causes of the condition. A novel, alternative therapeutic approach is to harness adult stem cells to promote regeneration of the damaged retinal blood vessels and thereby prevent and/or reverse retinopathy.”

“This new research project is one of several regenerative medicine approaches ongoing in the centre. The approach is quite simple: we plan to isolate a very defined population of stem cells and then deliver them to sites in the body that have been damaged by diabetes. In the case of some patients with diabetes, they may gain enormous benefit from stem cell-mediated repair of damaged blood vessels in their retina. This is the first step towards an exciting new therapy in an area where it is desperately needed.”

The project will develop ways to grow the bone-marrow-derived stem cells. They will be tested in several preclinical models of diabetic complications at centres in Belfast, Galway, Munich, Berlin and Porto before human trials take place in Denmark.

http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentreforVisionandVascularScience/

BROADCAST JOURNALIST SON TREATED WITH STEM CELLS

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 17, 2013 at 9:33 am

Daren DaviLa and son

Karen Davila resorts to stem-cell therapy for son’s autism

Broadcast journalist Karen Davila’s firstborn, David, was 3½ years old when he was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD/NOS) in the Autism Spectrum, a severe form of autism. The development pediatrician said there was no cure for David’s condition.   “David didn’t have the classic signs of autism, but clearly he wasn’t developing like other children his age,” says Davila. “At the age of 3, he wasn’t speaking spontaneously, although he could read. He had tantrums, couldn’t express his needs, whether he was hungry or sad, and didn’t reach out to other children his age.”

Like most kids in the autism spectrum, the boy had attention difficulties. “He was spaced out most of the time, and was rigid. It was so heartbreaking to see my eldest this way,” she adds.   Davila refused to accept that there was no answer to her son’s condition. “I researched endlessly and devoted myself to making sure my son got the best possible treatment,” she says. She quickly put her son on a casein- and gluten-free diet and biomedical treatment, under the care of Defeat Autism Now (DAN)-licensed doctors.

Early last year, Davila was offered an opportunity to try the fresh cell therapy being offered by a clinic in Germany.  The stem cells are harvested from lamb fetus and injected into the patient. By then, the journalist-mom had read up on the supposed benefits of stem cell on children with special needs.  In March, mother and son flew to Frankfurt.

“I didn’t consult with David’s doctors,” Davila admits. “But I have an aggressive-progressive approach to David’s condition. I’m willing to try anything that could help my son.  Doctors will frown upon this (lamb stem cell) since it is not accepted in the medical field, but I did try it for David’s sake.”

Around June last year, Dr. Z Teo and his wife, dermatologist Aivee Aguilar-Teo, introduced autologous fat stem-cell therapy or fat stem-cell therapy in their clinic.   Dr. Teo has been performing fat stem cell repair therapy or FSCR in his clinic in Singapore for a few years.

 Unlike the sheep stem cell, FSCR harvests fat from the patient’s tummy or thigh; a machine then isolates the stem cells from the fat. The fresh stem cell is then injected back into the patient’s body to stimulate the production of new, healthy cells. In patients who are too old or too sick, or have autism like David, fat stem cells are taken from a close blood kin.

Speaking to her son’s autism specialists, Davila says they have “no strong opposition against autologous fat stem-cell therapy.”

David’s procedure is deemed safe, “but blood screening, infectious screening, and compatibility testing and complete physical checkup must be performed prior to the procedure,” says Dr. Aguilar-Teo. Compatibility testing is vital to determine which of the parents is a better-match donor, she adds.  The clinic has performed 50-60 FSCRs since last year, only a handful of which share the same case as David’s.

As for its effect on David, “after just a week or two, the results were dramatic,” Davila says. “We noticed that David was quicker in question-and-answer response. He was visibly more aware, more in the moment, and he was bantering more at home and in school.

“Earlier that year, I brought David to Germany for fresh cell therapy. The effects were quite different. I believe that stem cell coming from the human body is clearly more powerful and potent.”

The surgeons in the Teos’ clinic also injected back some of Davila’s fat stem cells into her body. Apart from its purported benefits for people with neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disorders, and diseases like diabetes and asthma, FSCR is largely touted for its anti-aging and aesthetic benefits.  Prominent personalities who have admitted undergoing stem-cell therapy include former Presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

Speaking to her son’s autism specialists, Davila says they have “no strong opposition against autologous fat stem-cell therapy.”

To read full article, click HERE.

“When considering stem cell treatment you are taking your own health and well being in your hands. Do yourself a favor and surround yourself with positive open minded people who want you to recover. Is this how you describe your doctor, Your family?  Talk to patients who have been treated successfully. Embrace their health, passion and optimism and make it your own. The fastest way to greater health is to want it, believe it can happen, surround yourself with other like minded people and make it happen.”

- DG

 “Be the change u want to see in the world” – Gandhi

ATHLETES PROLONG CAREER THROUGH STEM CELLS TREATMENTS

In ALL ARTICLES, Athletes & Stem Cells, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 11, 2013 at 9:08 am

peyton manning

Chasing the miracle cure

Jim Bradley understands the season-on-the-brink desperation that, according to Fox Sports, sent Peyton Manning and his ailing neck to Europe this summer, seeking the experimental promise of stem cells. For the past two decades as the Steelers orthopedist, Bradley has listened to injured athletes beg him to be creative in getting them back onto the field. “In the last year, I’ve seen half a dozen guys go to South Korea, Japan, Germany, even Russia for stem cell procedures,” says Bradley, a past president of the NFL Physician’s Society. “And there’s going to be plenty more.”

hines-ward

The 57-year-old doctor should know. In January 2009, after Hines Ward left the AFC championship game with a torn MCL, Bradley administered a form of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, a strange and novel procedure at the time. Placing a sample of Ward’s blood in a centrifuge, Bradley isolated the plasma and platelets, which contain natural repair engines, then reinjected the serum into the receiver’s injured knee. Ward returned to the field two weeks later for Super Bowl XLIII, a remarkable recovery he and Bradley credit to the procedure. Had the Steeler opted for rest and physical therapy instead, the two say Ward likely would have watched the big game from the sideline.

At the time, Bradley was hailed as a genius; weekend warriors everywhere started asking for the “Hines Ward treatment.” But compared with the latest stem cell technologies, PRP looks about as revolutionary as leeches. Instead of relying on the relatively small number of stem cells that swim in blood, cellular scientists elsewhere in the world are extracting millions more out of bone marrow and fat, then engineering them into injury-fighting miracle workers. In Europe, healthy top-level soccer players are already having their stem cells harvested and grown into lines of bone and connective tissue in case of injury. “They’re doing it so they’ll have a ligament line ready if they get a tear during the season,” Bradley says.

Jarvis Green

Until last year, Christopher Centeno was doing a booming business culturing mesenchymal stem cells at his Broomfield, Colo., clinic. When NFL defensive end Jarvis Green visited the doctor in 2010 after two failed knee surgeries, the player faced the end of an eight-year career with New England. Shortly after receiving his stem cell treatment, Green was back in the NFL. “Before, I couldn’t walk up the stairs,” he told The Mag. “Three weeks later, I went to an NFL training camp and didn’t miss a day.”

Green’s recovery gave him one more season, with Houston, before he retired. But he had one of the last seats on Centeno’s cultured stem cell miracle train. In August 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration filled a federal injunction to prevent Centeno from culturing stem cells. The FDA claims he was “adulterating” blood in a way that turned it into an unapproved new drug. Centeno, who still provides same-day stem cell procedures, has spent $500,000 fighting the agency’s controversial opinion and even more money moving his culturing operation to a new clinic offshore in the Cayman Islands. “The FDA has pushed this therapy out of the U.S.,” he says.

Source:   Oct. 17 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,994 other followers

%d bloggers like this: