DAVID GRANOVSKY

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

ADULT STEM CELL voice box transplant trials could begin in 2013

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 31, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Professor Birchall carried out the world’s first stem cell transplant of a windpipe in 2008.  Now he wants a clinical trial so he can help 1,300 patients a year with larynx problems. Well done sir!  – dg

Stem cell voice box transplant trials could begin in 2013

Speaking at the UK National Stem Cell Network annual science meeting today in York (30 March), Professor Martin Birchall will announce that the first clinical trials for stem cell voice transplants will begin in 2013, thanks to a million pounds provided by the Medical Research Council (MRC).

This revolutionary new kind of transplant treatment could change the lives of to 1300 patients a year in the UK who suffer serious problems with breathing, speaking and swallowing.

Loss of a working larynx (voice box) not only affects speech, swallowing, breathing, but also smell, taste, coughing, lifting and kissing, affecting thousands of people in the UK. Having carried out the world’s first stem cell transplant of a windpipe in 2008, Professor Birchall will be heading up a team to formally assess whether a similar approach can be used to repair problems in a voice box.

This research opens up new possibilities for patients receiving other kinds of transplants as well. One of the main problems currently facing those in need of donor organs is that they will need to take drugs for the rest of their lives as a result of the transplant. This new project, known as RegenVOX proposes that by using stem cells, this method could potentially help restore the patient’s own immune system and reduce the need for immuno-suppresant drugs.

Health News – Stem cell voice box transplant trials could begin in 2013.

How nasal stem cells might prevent childhood deafness

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on March 31, 2011 at 12:35 pm
Australia is starting to catch up.  This procedure has been done in Asia, Europe and South America…just not in the USA or Australia. – dg
How nasal stem cells might prevent childhood deafness

Australian scientists have shown for the first time in mice that nasal stem cells injected into the inner ear have the potential to reverse or restore hearing during early onset sensorineural hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when hearing cells in the cochlea lose their function. Frequently inherited, and usually starting during infancy and early childhood, the condition can slow a child’s development and lead to speech and language problems.

Drs Jeremy Sullivan, Sonali Pandit and Sharon Oleskevich from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, found that stem cells appear to release ‘factors’, or chemical substances, that help preserve the function of cochlear hearing cells, without the stem cells becoming part of the tissue of the inner ear. Their findings are published in STEM CELLS, now online.

“We are exploring the potential of stem cells to prevent or restore hearing loss in people,” said project leader Dr Sharon Oleskevich.

“The mice we are using have a very similar form of childhood deafness to their human counterparts – except, of course that mouse years are shorter. So a mouse will tend to lose their hearing within 3 months, where a person might take 8 years.”

“We are encouraged by our initial findings, because all the mice injected with stem cells showed improved hearing in comparison with those given a sham injection. Roughly half of the mice did very well indeed, although it is important to note that hearing was not completely restored to normal hearing levels.”

Adult human nasal stem cells were used in the procedure, because they are plentiful, easy to obtain and unspecialised (so have the ability to self-renew for long periods, as well as differentiate into cells with a variety of functions).

The same group of scientists has shown in previous publications that stem cells can also be used to improve hearing in noise-induced hearing loss – a condition that affects both young and older people.

It has taken 5 years to reach the current stage of research, and scientists anticipate that it will take a further decade at least for the findings to benefit people.

How nasal stem cells might prevent childhood deafness – insciences.

MENSTRUAL BLOOD STEM CELL BANKING IN INDIA

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 31, 2011 at 10:24 am
Menstrual blood stem cell banking being launched in India

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New Delhi : Menstrual blood stem cells can now be easily collected, processed and harvested in an affordable, painless and non-invasive manner.

This unique stem cell banking is being launched in India for the first time at Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu state, as LifeCell Femme menstrual blood stem cell banking service.

Until now, menstrual blood was discarded as unsanitary waste. Menstrual blood contains a large number of self-renewing stem cells that multiply rapidly and can differentiate into many other types of cells such as neural, cardiac, bone, fat, cartilage and possibly others, demonstrating great potential for cell therapy, statesman reported quoting the recent research.

Every month during a woman’s menstrual period the uterine lining, endometrium, is shed along with the extra blood and tissues. This lining of the uterus contains a large number of mesenchymal stem cells and several thousand fold high concentration of stem cell growth factors. These cells from the endometrium are unique because they have many properties and characteristics similar to both bone marrow and embryonic stem cells.

Although menstrual stem cell technology has not yet been utilised to date in human therapies, the collective body of ongoing research may potentially change the types of therapies used to diagnose or treat a host of significant medical conditions in the future affecting hundreds of millions worldwide like Alzheimer’s disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and many others.

“Stem cell technology is the future of medicine. Experiments performed at the Keio University school of medicine have succeeded in growing sheets of heart muscle from connective tissue cells harvested from menstrual blood When it comes to growing heart muscle, however, the connective tissue cells in menstrual blood have a success rate 100 times higher than the 0.2 – 0.3 percent for stem cells taken from human bone marrow,” said the chief scientific officer, LifeCell International, Dr Ajit Kumar.

Once collected the menstrual blood stem cells are dispatched to LifeCell’s state of the art laboratory facility at Chennai for processing. The stem cells are then harvested and the menstrual stem cells are frozen in liquid nitrogen storage container for cryogenic preservation at sub-zero minus 196 degrees centigrade. This procedure will enable the stem cells to retain their potency and viability for an indefinite period of time.

Menstrual blood stem cell banking being launched in India | TwoCircles.net.

How to Donate Menstrual Blood for Stem Cell Research

By an eHow Contributor

The use of menstrual blood as a resource for stem cells has been an interesting development in the field of bioresearch. The idea of collecting stem cells has been a controversial one at times. With this new method, there is no moral dilemma for anyone involved. In the future, people will benefit from the open availability of these types of stem cells. Currently, one company has the market cornered in the collection and storage of menstrual blood for stem cells. The company is called C’Elle. Collecting and storing your menstrual blood for its stem cells is easy.

Instructions-things you’ll need:

  • Collection package
    • 1

      Order your collection kit from C’Elle through their company website (see Resources).

    • 2

      Freeze the cooling packs that arrive with your C’Elle collection kit immediately upon arrival and continuously until you are ready to package your collections and send them back via FedEx.

    • 3

      To collect your menstrual blood, insert the provided menstrual cup in place of a tampon. This cup needs to be left in for three hours to collect your first of two specimens.

    • 4

      Take the menstrual cup out. It should have about a teaspoon of fluid in it. Carefully place this fluid into the provided vials of solution.

    • 5

      Refrigerate your first specimen while you collect your second.

    • 6

      Replace your menstrual cup for another three hours and repeat the collection process for your second vial. One vial will be used for storage and the other will be used for infectious disease testing.

    • 7

      Remove your cooling packs from the freezer; the first specimen from the refrigerator and package both specimens and the cooling packs in your original collection kit box after you have collected both specimens.

    • 8

      Ship your collection kit back to C’Elle using the provided airbilled FedEx box.

Read more: How to Donate Menstrual Blood for Stem Cell Research | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4587255_menstrual-blood-stem-cell-research.html#ixzz1Ia5iwhot

Stem Cell Technology Treating Many Degenerative Diseases…In Pets

In ALL ARTICLES on March 31, 2011 at 10:14 am

Technology is giving us many new inventions daily. One such recent invention of world class manufacturing technology has been made by Medivet Pty Ltd. The Research and Development Division of the company has introduced a new procedure with the help of which, the veterinarians can extract, process and activate an animal’s own adult stem cells by injecting them back again into the animal’s own body.

Medivet has recently introduced this unique procedure. Several countries worldwide and many international veterinarians today are using this procedure to treat many degenerative diseases such as primary and secondary arthritis, hip dysplasia, damaged or torn ligaments and tendons, joint pain, worn or damaged cartilage etc.

Medivet has spent many years and millions of dollars to introduce this one of the most exciting and valuable treatments ever released, exclusively for the veterinary field. The company is really making big with its American division, Medivet America LLC that is leading the field in sales and Adipose Stem Cell procedures.

Trials are still being conducted at many universities, in Australia and internationally. Also, thousands of Adipose Stem Cell Kits have been supplied to veterinarians enabling them to perform Stem cell procedures including the 14 international countries to which, Medivet is currently exporting the kits.

Stem Cell Technology Treating Many Degenerative Diseases Today | TopNews United States.

ADULT STEM CELLS ARE STILL THE ONLY WAY TO GO

In ALL ARTICLES on March 30, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Recent research has shown once again that only adult stem cells are capable of treating humans.  Embryonic stem cells generate cysts and tumors and Induced Pluripotent stem cells develop genetic abnormalities when they are used.  (Induced Pluripotent stem cells are those stem cells created by scientist who take simple adult skin cells and then regress them to an embryonic like state – see article below) – dg

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Genetic Abnormalities Discovered After Creation of (induced pluripotent) Stem Cells

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Discovery sheds new light on the process of stem cell generation, and will help promote safer stem-cell based studies and future clinical trials
Thursday, 10 March 2011

Dr. Andras Nagy’s laboratory at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital and Dr. Timo Otonkoski’s laboratory at Biomedicum Stem Cell Center, University of Helsinki, as well as collaborators in Europe and Canada have identified genetic abnormalities associated with reprogramming adult cells to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The findings give researchers new insights into the reprogramming process, and will help make future applications of stem cell creation and subsequent use safer.

The study was published in Nature.

The team showed that the reprogramming process for generating iPS cells (i.e., cells that can then be ‘coaxed’ to become a variety of cell types for use in regenerative medicine) is associated with inherent DNA damage.

This damage is detected in the form of genetic rearrangements and ‘copy number variations,’ which are alterations of DNA in which a region of the genome is either deleted or amplified on certain chromosomes. The variability may either be inherited, or caused by de novo mutation.

“Our analysis shows that these genetic changes are a result of the reprogramming process itself, which raises the concern that the resultant cell lines are mutant or defective,” said Dr. Nagy, a Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld.

“These mutations could alter the properties of the stem cells, affecting their applications in studying degenerative conditions and screening for drugs to treat diseases. In the longer term, this discovery has important implications in the use of these cells for replacement therapies in regenerative medicine.”

“Our study also highlights the need for rigorous characterization of generated iPS lines, especially since several groups are currently trying to enhance reprogramming efficiency,” said Dr. Samer Hussein, a McEwen post-doctoral scientist who initiated these studies with Dr. Otonkoski, before completing them with Dr. Nagy.

“For example, increasing the efficiency of reprogramming may actually reduce the quality of the cells in the long run, if genomic integrity is not accurately assessed.”

The researchers used a molecular technique called single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis to study stem cell lines, and specifically to compare the number of copy number variations in both early and intermediate-stage human iPS cells with their respective parental, originating cells.

Drs. Nagy and Otonkoski and their teams found that iPS cells had more genetic abnormalities than their originating cells and embryonic stem cells. Interestingly, however, the simple process of growing the freshly generated iPS cells for a few weeks selected against the highly mutant cell lines, and thus most of the genetic abnormalities were eventually ‘weeded out.’

“However, some of the mutations are beneficial for the cells and they may survive during continued growth,” said Dr. Otonkoski, Director and Senior Scientist at the Biomedicum Stem Cell Center.

Stem cells have been widely touted as a source of great hope for use in regenerative medicine, as well as in the development of new drugs to prevent and treat illnesses including Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury and macular degeneration. But techniques for generating these uniquely malleable cells have also opened a Pandora’s Box of concerns and ethical quandaries. Health Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Union consider stem cells to be drugs under federal legislation, and as such, subject to the same regulations.

“Our results suggest that whole genome analysis should be included as part of quality control of iPS cell lines to ensure that these cells are genetically normal after the reprogramming process, and then use them for disease studies and/or clinical applications,” said Dr. Nagy.

“Rapid development of the technologies in genome-wide analyses will make this more feasible in the future,” said Dr. Otonkoski.

“In addition, there is a need to further explore if other methods might mitigate the amount of DNA damage generated during the generation of stem cells,” both investigators agreed.

CAN STEM CELLS SAVE RADIATION VICTIMS?

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 30, 2011 at 12:47 pm
Could Stem Cell Transplants Save Japan’s Nuclear Workers?

Scientists say Japan’s faceless heroes — the nuclear workers toiling inside the radioactive, quake-stricken Fukushima plant — could get a life-saving boost from a procedure normally used on cancer patients: stem cell transplants.

 

Before and After: Fukushima Plant

An infusion of blood stem cells can be used to boost bone marrow in cancer patients ravaged by radiation treatment. But experts say the procedure could also save the lives of Japan’s nuclear workers, who’ve been exposed to high levels of radioactive contamination while battling nuclear fallout at the country’s Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, 150 miles north of Tokyo.

About 400 workers have been staying at a building about half a mile from Fukushima’s blown-out Reactor No. 1, while residents within a surrounding 12-mile radius have evacuated altogether.

At least two workers were hospitalized last week after coming in contact with radioactive water as they tried to lay electricity cables. The exact level of radiation the workers are constantly exposed to hasn’t been made public.

Now, Japanese authorities are considering plans to collect and freeze cells from some of the workers, in case they’re in need of blood stem cell transplants later on, when the true amount of contamination is known, and if workers begin to fall ill.

Workers who’ve been exposed to high levels of contamination could develop acute radiation syndrome. “The survival rate of patients with this syndrome decreases with increasing [radiation] dose,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says on its website. “The primary cause of death is the destruction of the bone marrow.”

That’s where the stem cell transplants might come in…

Could Stem Cell Transplants Save Japan’s Nuclear Workers?.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA (CANNABIS) CURES CANCER

In Medical Marijuana on March 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm
How Cannabinoids Kill Cancer Cells

This clip is from the recently-aired PBS documentary, ‘Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis,’ which explores the scientifically proven fact that cannabinoids kill cancer cells in test tubes and in laboratory animals.

Here are 1,500 more videos on “Cannabis Cures Cancer”: http://bit.ly/Cannnabis_cures_cancer

Cannabinoid receptors exist throughout organs of the human body, especially in the brain and in the immune system. These act like targets for cannabinoids. Once they bind to the receptors, peptides are released that tell the cancer cells to die, i.e., to commit suicide.

One doctor interviewed has been so encouraged by the laboratory results that he has begun cannabis trials with his own leukemia patients.

Medical Marijuana Cannabis Cures Cancers.

OVER HALF OF HEART EXPERTS HAVE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

In OFF THE BEATEN PATH on March 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

(Reuters) – Half of the experts involved in writing recent treatment guidelines for heart patients reported a conflict of interest, U.S. researchers said on Monday, raising worries about whose interests are being served.

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Even though the experts are disclosing their ties to companies that produce heart drugs and devices, the phenomenon is important because the guidelines they produce are used to help train new doctors, thus can have long-lasting impact on the way patients are treated…

Of the nearly 500 people studied, 56 percent reported a conflict of interest. The most common conflicts included being a consultant or serving on a company advisory board, followed by getting a research grant, taking money for serving on a speakers’ bureau and owning stock…

Study looks at ties between firms, heart experts | Reuters.

HELP SUPPORT SUICIDE AWARENESS + PREVENTION

In OFF THE BEATEN PATH on March 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Please support me as I take an amazing journey. The Out of the Darkness Overnight Experience is a 18-mile walk over the course of one night. Net proceeds benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, funding research, education, and awareness programs – both to prevent suicide and to assist those affected by suicide.

CLICK THIS LINK TO MAKE A DONATION: http://bit.ly/suicide_awareness

 

FOR MORE DETAILED INFORMATION:

On the night of June 4-5, 2011, I will join thousands of other people on an 18-mile walk as part of the Out of the Darkness Overnight, an event that raises money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The goal of this journey, which will begin at dusk and finish at dawn, is to raise funds for suicide prevention, erase the stigma surrounding suicide and its causes, to encourage those suffering from mental illness to seek treatment, and to show support for the families and friends of the 30,000 Americans who die by suicide and the 20 million people that suffer from depression each year.

I am asking for your support of this effort.

I know from my own experience of losing my dear friend Steve Snyder to suicide that serious depression and other mental illnesses can be fatal. Steve struggled with depression and tried very hard to overcome his illnesses and move forward with his life. He was loved by many, many people who were devastated by his death and his suicide. I can say with confidence that had you known Steve, your life would have been enhanced by his friendship, intellect and character. Steve’s family and friends have been forever changed by his passing.  They will continue to miss him deeply for the rest of their lives and they wrote a few words I’d like to share with you:

  • I have no words to describe how devastatingly sad this tragedy is. Rest peacefully, dear friend. You were loved and you will be missed.
  • Steve was always one of the ‘good guys’!
  • Steve you were a great soul and someone people will miss.
  • I’m gonna miss running for a thesaurus looking to find words that you wrote.
  • Steve was extremely smart, funny, witty, good-hearted and caring. The world is a better place for his time with us, and we are all better people for the time we shared with him.
  • I’m deeply saddened by this tragedy… He was my cousin and my friend… I will miss him at family gatherings; I will miss his insights, his sense of humor, and our debates about law, politics, and economics… I don’t think that there is a simple rational explanation for what happened. He will be dearly missed by those he left behind.
  • His brilliant wit and raw dissection of life led us to question everything and everyone we took for granted. We will miss Steve’s humor, wit and zest for life.
  • I remember Steve’s keen intelligence and sharp wit.
  • The world is a worse place because he is gone and like so many people I will miss him for the rest of my life.
  • Good bye Steve the world is lesser place today, but heaven is better in welcoming you.

Mr. Rogers once said, “Anything that is human is mentionable. And if it is mentionable, it can be more manageable. When we talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.”  Too few people were willing to talk about Steve’s depression and his suicide. That’s why I’m walking in Out of the Darkness Overnight, to raise awareness and let people know it is ok to talk about suicide and mental illness. I want to do my part to prevent this tragedy from happening in other families.

By participating in this event, I hope to raise awareness of the serious threat that mental illness can pose and the treatment options that can help people overcome it. If one person can be saved from the illness that killed Steve, my efforts to walk 20 miles and to raise money for this cause will be worthwhile.

Please take a moment to read the enclosed fact sheet about suicide and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is at the forefront of many research, education, prevention and survivor initiatives. I hope you will consider supporting my participation in this event. Any contribution will help the work of AFSP. Checks should be made payable to AFSP and are 100% tax-deductible. Donations can also be made online at http://www.TheOvernight.org (select “Support a Participant” and search for my name).  Your employer may augment your donation through a matching gift program – please check your company’s policy.
Please think about how much you can give to this cause and complete the enclosed donation form today.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and for being a part of my life.  You have been a source of strength and support for me both when Steve was alive and in the long months since he died. It is only through the love and support of family and friends that we all survive.

CLICK THIS LINK TO MAKE A DONATION: http://bit.ly/suicide_awareness

Sperm Grown in a Dish – Technology Review

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on March 24, 2011 at 9:46 am

Stem cells now capable of making sperm. – dg


Sperm Grown in a Dish

Researchers make sperm that successfully produces offspring in mice—a development that could one day help infertile men.

Savior sperm: Scientists in Japan have grown functional mouse sperm (shown here in green) in a dish by mimicking the chemical environment of the testes. The sperm is capable of producing fertile offspring.  – Credit: Takehiko Ogawa, Yokohama City University

In a significant step toward combating male infertility, researchers at Yokohama City University have grown mouse sperm in a dish and used the sperm to produce pups that were themselves fertile in adulthood.

Researchers started with small fragments of tissue containing sperm stem cells, called spermagonia, collected from the testes of baby mice. They then grew those cells into functional sperm, using various chemicals to simulate the natural environment of the testes. The results of the study, published in this week’s issue of Nature, may eventually benefit infertile men and boys undergoing chemotherapy.

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Sperm Grown in a Dish – Technology Review.

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