Archive for February 17th, 2009|Daily archive page

STEM CELLS & Parkinson’s – Patient Helped by Adult Stem Cell Research- A Published Case Study | Culture11



Parkinson’s Patient Helped by Adult Stem Cell Research- A Published Case Study

By Don Margolis -February 17, 2009

Due to advances in Adult Stem Cell research, Dr. Dennis Turner was helped by his own stem cells to treat his Parkinson’s Disease. Treated by Dr. Michael Levesque of NeuroGeneration, in 1999, Dr. Turner’s “motor scales improved by over 80% for at least 36 months.” Read more at Adult Stem Cell Research

via Parkinson?s Patient Helped by Adult Stem Cell Research- A Published Case Study | Culture11.

Stem Cells Revive Woman in Coma From Stroke



Stem Cells Revive Woman in Coma From Stroke

By Don Margolis

February 16, 2009

In another event showing that Adult Stem Cell research in India is truly ahead of the curve, Adult Stem cells implanted into a woman in a coma from a brain stroke have partially revived her. This stem cell therapy partially waking up a woman is believed to be only the second time in history this has been done with stem cells. The woman is now moving….. Read more at Adult Stem Cell Research

via Stem Cells Revive Woman in Coma From Stroke

STEM CELLS & Scotland | Stem cell eye surgery to be tried

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 17, 2009 at 10:32 pm


The procedure will transplant cells onto the cornea

A new surgical treatment offering hope to patients with corneal blindness is to be trialled in Scotland.

Doctors in Edinburgh and Glasgow will work together using an innovative technique involving adult stem cells.

About 20 patients will take part in the initial tests, using cells cultivated before being transplanted onto the surface of the cornea.

Millions of people worldwide suffer from corneal blindness, 80% of whom are elderly.

Stem cells are a source of great scientific interest as a result of their ability to renew and multiply indefinitely, potentially regenerating entire organs from only a few cells.

On a larger scale, it’s a significant problem

Prof Bal Dhillon

Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion

Unlike the more controversial embryonic stem cell research, the technique takes stem cells from dead adult donors.

The trial is being led by Prof Bal Dhillon at the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion in Edinburgh, working with the Gartnavel General Hospital in Glasgow.

Prof Dhillon said: “This study is the first of its kind anywhere in the world and it is exciting to be involved in such groundbreaking work.

“I probably see two or three new cases of corneal disease every month. On a larger scale, it’s a significant problem.”

The trial will hope to emulate the success of a similar study in the US in September last year.

In trials at the University of Pennsylvania, subjects with inherited blindness experienced dramatic improvements in vision after a corrective gene was injected into the eye.

via BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Stem cell eye surgery to be tried.

What’s all this about stem cells?

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS - 101, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 17, 2009 at 10:30 pm

by Tom Shakespeare -9th February 2009

America is trialling it, Barack Obama is about to endorse it, Scottish doctors think it could cure a form of blindness, and a toddler is going all the way to China for it. Over the last month, it’s been hard to miss all the news stories about stem cell therapy. We know that therapies based on stem cells are likely to be extremely beneficial to all sorts of disabled people in the future, but where are we with it all right now? I think it’s time for a bit of a recap …

What is stem cell therapy?

Stem cells, magnified in extreme close-up

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells – lacking qualities that make them different or unique – which are capable of developing into any of the 200 different types of cell in the human body. They are derived from embryos, from the umbilical cord or, with greater difficulty, from the scarce stem cells in adults or children.

Stem cells can be used to grow tissues for transplantation – for example, heart muscle or brain cells or liver cells. They can also be used as models for disease, which can then be used in research – meaning better knowledge or less reliance on animal experimentation. This has recently been achieved for spinal muscular atrophy.

Who might be helped by these therapies?

People who have diseases or impairments which are caused by tissue damage or degeneration can potentially be helped by stem cell therapy. For example, people with diabetes, liver disease and Parkinson’s, maybe even people with spinal cord injury.

A new trial is exploring whether stroke survivors could benefit too, whilst the latest news suggests that stem cells from patients’ own bone marrow could help reverse the early signs of MS.

Most of these therapies are only at the stage of initial trials in humans – for example, studies on corneal blindness and spinal cord injury are just starting.

Does it work?

Stem cell treatments have been successful in treating Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID) and a few other conditions in research settings. While stem cell therapy sounds good in theory, in practice it is very hard to grow specific cell types and control their growth safely. The children cured of SCID went on to contract a form of leukaemia. Research continues to understand why, and to improve safety and effectiveness.

When might therapies be available?

Embryonic stem cells, seen under a microscope

The first clinical trial of an embryonic stem cell therapy has just been authorised by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Clinical trials can take up to 10 years, so even if a therapy is shown to be successful, scientists or pharmaceutical companies then have to prove that it is safe. Animal trials have shown that therapies for spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy and other conditions have great potential, but effective treatments are still a long way off. Therapies may be beneficial in the early days after a spinal cord injury, but not benefit those who have been injured for a long time.

What’s the ethical issue here?

Embryonic stem cell therapy depends on destroying embryos – usually surplus embryos from IVF treatment. Those who believe that life starts at conception will equate this to murder. The Vatican reaffirmed its opposition to embryonic stem cell research in December, but permits research using adult stem cells.

Another controversy is over somatic cell nuclear transfer, otherwise known as therapeutic cloning, which would enable stem cell tissues to be matched to the patient, but bring us closer to the possibility of reproductive cloning.

Under President Bush, creation of new embryonic stem cell lines was forbidden in America. President Obama is expected to permit a more liberal approach to research.

What’s the political issue?

Stem cells being cloned in a laboratory

For those who take a pure social model approach to disability, the problem for disabled people is not their impairment but the barriers and discrimination within society. Stem cell therapy is offered as a cure for disability, whereas activists often deny their need or desire for cure.

Moreover, promises of scientific breakthroughs and wonderful medical treatments have been made for over fifty years, and there is scepticism about the current stem cell hyperbole. Superman actor Christopher Reeve was so convinced that stem cell therapy would cure spinal cord injury that he said that barrier removal and disability rights was unnecessary. Most others disagree.

So is it just a load of hype?

There is definitely lots of media excitement about stem cell therapy, as well as the occasional irresponsible announcement from a scientist. There are also big commercial interests involved: stories of miraculous stem cell treatments in less regulated countries such as China, Thailand, India and Russia are questionable, with vulnerable consumers being charged an average of 21,500 dollars for unproven therapies.

In Britain, many parents have been encouraged to pay for their infant’s umbilical cord blood to be stored in private stem cell banks, with the hope that this might help with future disease. But scientists are sceptical as to whether the promised benefits will materialise.

But despite these negative stories, overall it is fair to say that leading scientists in the UK and US are responsible and very tightly regulated, and that many believe that ultimately this line of research will transform medicine.

You’ll see many more news stories in the months and years ahead, so stay tuned for more updates on ‘tailor made tissues’.

via BBC – Ouch! (disability) – Fact – What’s all this about stem cells?.


In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VIDEOS on February 17, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Stem cell hope for blind toddler



Joshua will have five weeks’ treatment in China with umbilical cord stem cells

The family of a toddler who was born blind are hoping a course of cutting-edge stem cell therapy in China could let some light into his life.

Sixteen-month-old Joshua Clark, from Caernarfon, Gwynedd, was born with optic nerve hypoplasia and his parents were told no treatment was available.

Joanna and Anthony Clark found the Chinese therapy after doing research via the internet.

An auction to help fund the £40,000 op was held on Thursday and raised £8,160.

Joshua’s grandfather Dr Kevin Doughty said his wife, Gill, a nurse who worked on an eye ward, first noticed when Joshua was three months old that his eyes did not react in the way she expected.

“It was a slow job to get the medics involved. It took a long time to get the tests that showed what he had,” Dr Doughty told the BBC Wales News website.

When Joshua was six months, he was finally given a diagnosis.

His father Anthony said: “They explained the situation and said there was nothing they could do for us.

ONH is a congenital condition caused by underdevelopment of the optic nerve
It can cause anything from mild light sensitivity to total blindness
Can be part of a disorder known as septo-optic dysplasia

“We weren’t very happy with that, and about a week later we started looking it up on the internet. We were talking to people in America particularly, people who had had the treatment but also medics who knew about it.”

They launched a fundraising campaign to enable Joshua to undergo treatment at Hangzhou, near Shanghai, and have so far raised £24,500 towards the £40,000 needed.

The family will fly to China at the end of April and will spend five weeks accompanied by various relatives at different times while Joshua undergoes treatment with umbilical cord stem cells.

When he returns he will need daily treatment for a year in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber which has been installed at the family’s home in order to maximise the effect of the therapy.

The family is not hoping for miracles. They know Joshua is unlikely to have normal vision, but they hope he will be able to detect light, differentiate between night and day and see colours and objects.

Mr Clark said: “We’re hoping that he can see something, light and shapes and some distance in front of him.

“We’re just hoping that we may get something from it. It may not work, and it’s hard to take so you don’t want to go out with too many expectations.”

‘Stronger relationship’

He believes the family has been drawn more closely together as a result of their experiences.

“I think it’s made myself and Joanna’s relationship stronger,” he said.

The auction, organised by neighbours of the Clarks, is being held at the Celtic Royal Hotel in Caernarfon on Thursday night.

No-one from the UK is believed to have undergone stem cell therapy for ONH in China but two girls from Northern Ireland are due to go prior to Joshua.

Glamour model Jordan’s son Harvey was born with the condition.

via BBC NEWS | UK | Wales | Mid Wales | Stem cell hope for blind toddler.


In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 17, 2009 at 10:20 pm


Stem cell ‘cure’ boy gets tumour

Stem cells have been linked with cancer in animals

A boy treated with foetal stem cells for a rare genetic disease has developed benign tumours, raising questions about the therapy’s safety.

The boy, now 17, received the stem cells in 2001 at a Moscow hospital and four years later scans showed brain and spinal tumours, PLoS Medicine reports.

Israeli doctors removed the abnormal growth from his spine and tests suggest it sprouted from the stem cells.

Critics say the finding is evidence against the controversial therapy.

Apart from the ethics of using cells taken from embryos, opponents say there are big safety concerns.

As well as the possibility that stem cells may turn cancerous, some researchers fear that it is possible that stem cell therapy could unwittingly pass viruses and other disease causing agents to people who receive cell transplants.

Experimental therapy

Experts are hopeful that stem cells, which have the ability to develop into other kinds of human cells, will eventually lead to treatments for some of the most intractable conditions.

Although this is just one case it does show that we need to be careful
Stem cell scientist Dr Stephen Minger

The boy in question was treated for a condition called Ataxia Telangiectasia – a genetic disease that attacks the brain region controlling movement and speech.

He received three courses of foetal stem cell injections to the brain and the fluid surrounding the spine.

Four years after his first injection he was investigated for recurrent headaches and his doctors at the Sheba Medical Centre in Tel Aviv found two tumours – one in the spine and one in the brain at the same sites the injections had been given.

A year later, when the boy was 14, the doctors removed the non-cancerous tumour from his spine and it was found to contain cells that could not have arisen from the patient’s own tissue and had in all probability grown from the donated stem cells.

Although they were unable to sample the growth in the boy’s brain, the scientists believe this probably arose from the injected stem cells too.

Donor-derived cells might have been able to spark tumours in this patient because people with Ataxia Telangiectasia often have a weakened immune system, say the researchers. It is not clear whether the stem cell therapy helped his genetic condition.

Safety fears

They say the findings “do not imply that the research in stem cell therapeutics should be abandoned.”

Nonetheless, they say more work should be done to assess the safety of this therapy.

Josephine Quintavalle of the public interest group Comment on Reproductive Ethics said: “The risks of tumour formation in association with embryonic stem cells are widely acknowledged and one reason why there are very serious concerns about the proposed use of such cells in treating spinal cord injury in the US.

“It would appear from this report that foetal stem cells are similarly unstable. These are not areas of therapy we should be rushing into, whatever the ethical debates surrounding the use of embryo or foetal tissue per se.”

Stem cell scientist Dr Stephen Minger, of King’s College London, said it was clear that the tumours had arisen from the transplanted cells.

“This is worrying and we have to be cautious. We need to have long term monitoring and follow up of the patients given stem cells and rigorous regulation of centres providing cell therapy.

“Although this is just one case it does show that we need to be careful about the cell populations we are using.” He said not all clinics used good quality cells.

via BBC NEWS | Health | Stem cell ‘cure’ boy gets tumour.

ScienceMode » CSHL researchers identify gene that helps plant cells keep communication channels open – Science News – From Science Mode.com

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm

CSHL researchers identify gene that helps plant cells keep communication channels open

By ScienceMode on Feb 17th, 2009 in Headlines, SM | Add story link to StumbleUpon

Plant cells communicate via microscopic channels called plasmodesmata that are embedded in their cell walls. For the stem cells in the plants’ growing tips, called “meristems,” the plasmodesmata are lifelines, allowing nutrients and genetic instructions for growth to flow in.

Developmental and environmental cues trigger changes in the structure of the tiny channels, thereby altering the flow of traffic through them. The genes and molecular pathways of the plant cell that respond to these cues, and the mechanisms that control channel structure and cell-to-cell traffic are, however, mostly unknown.

via ScienceMode » CSHL researchers identify gene that helps plant cells keep communication channels open – Science News – From Science Mode.com.

‘Major Advance’ in HIV Gene Therapy

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 17, 2009 at 4:12 pm

‘Major Advance’ in HIV Gene Therapy

Study Shows HIV Gene Therapy Is Safe, Could Make Body Resist AIDS Virus

By Daniel J. DeNoon -WebMD Health News -Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 16, 2009 — A one-time gene therapy that puts an anti- HIV RNA weapon into blood cells is safe and, in higher doses and stronger form, could make the body resist the AIDS virus, a clinical trial suggests.

This “major advance in the field” is the largest clinical trial ever to test genetically altered cells in humans, say UCLA researcher Ronald T. Mitsuyasu, MD, and colleagues.

“This study indicates that cell-delivered gene transfer is safe and biologically active in individuals with HIV and can be developed as a conventional therapeutic product,” the researchers report in the Feb. 15 advance online issue of Nature Medicine.

via ‘Major Advance’ in HIV Gene Therapy.

STEM CELLS: And the blind shall see and the BALD shall grow HAIR!

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 17, 2009 at 4:10 pm

San Diego’s Stem Cell Startup Reports Hair-Regrowth Results

Bruce V. Bigelow 2/17/09

San Diego-based Histogen CEO Gail Naughton is presenting encouraging preliminary results today at a stem cell conference from the startup’s first human trial of its hair regrowth treatment, ReGenica.

The company says it is in the midst of conducting a five-month clinical trial somewhere outside the United States to assess the safety of ReGenica. After 12 weeks, the company says, patients using the treatment show increased, thicker hair growth, with no adverse reactions. ReGenica is an injectable liquid product made by culturing cells from newborns and collecting growth factors, so-called wnt proteins, and other molecules that the cells secrete. In mice, wnt proteins are involved in triggering stem cells in the skin to form hair, according to Histogen’s press release.

via San Diego’s Stem Cell Startup Reports Hair-Regrowth Results | Xconomy.

Indicator Found That Warns Leukemia Is Progressing To More Dangerous Form

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 17, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Indicator Found That Warns Leukemia Is Progressing To More Dangerous Form

ScienceDaily (Feb. 16, 2009) — Scientists at the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego, Stanford University School of Medicine and other centers have identified a mechanism by which a chronic form of leukemia can progress into a deadlier stage of the disease. The findings may provide physicians with an indicator of when this type of cancer – chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) – is progressing, enabling them to make more accurate prognoses for the disease and improved treatment choices.

via Indicator Found That Warns Leukemia Is Progressing To More Dangerous Form.

%d bloggers like this: