DAVID GRANOVSKY

Posts Tagged ‘adult stem cell’

ADULT STEM CELL EVOLUTION AT A GLANCE

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on July 16, 2014 at 11:03 am

“Beginning in about 1990, the treatment of cardiovascular disease experienced major conceptual expansions through the application of new therapeutic paradigms targeted to angiogenesis and tissue healing. Initial strategies involved administering proteins involved in healing processes, then the genes that encoded them, and then, by the end of the decade, the use of stem cells to better achieve these objectives.” -‘Stem Cell Therapy in Cardiovascular Disease: Past Obstacles and Promising New Directions‘, genengnews.com

Stem Cell Therapy in Cardiovascular Disease: Past Obstacles and Promising New Directions

Adult Stem Cell Evolution At A Glance
Author: Sarah Hoffman

I know many people think that what we know about stem cells is all we have ever known. This is a misconception arising from the fact that people in the United States do not discuss the topic because it could be considered a political no-no-topic. In reality, many scientists from all over the earth research adult stem cells and are finding ways to use them that was never before imaginable. They are also perfecting ways in which we use them to treat patience with varying ailments. This article focuses on cardiovascular diseases.

Scientists began by trying varying methods of stem cell treatment, from utilizing many different types of cells at a time to using very specific cells. Through many studies and trial and error, scientists found that intravenous injection of stem cells to treat many cardiac ailments was effective, efficient, and affordable.

So it seems to me that a routine stem cell treatment may soon be available to cardiac patients.

Take a gander at the whole article and I know some more of your questions are sure to be answered!

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NOW YOU DON’T SEE IT- NOW YOU DO

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on July 10, 2014 at 9:39 am

Now You Don’t See it- Now You Do
Author: Sarah Hoffman

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“Boston researchers have successfully regrown human corneal tissue – a feat that could potentially restore vision in the blind.

The achievement also marks one of the first times that scientists have constructed tissue using adult-derived human stem cells.-Researchers Regrow Corneas Using Adult Human Stem Cells’. FoxNews.com

Researchers recently made great strides in the field of regrowing human tissue– this time regrowing a human cornea using adult stem cells. This is an amazing feat. They discovered that not only is it possible to regrow a cornea using cells from the functioning eye of someone who is blind in only one eye, but they can also transplant cells from a donor and regrow that way. They tested all this on mice, but used human adult stem cells. This is pretty darn cool.

And why is this possible now? Well the original hold up was their inability to harvest a specific molecule called ABCB5, which is necessary when growing corneal tissue. These researchers discovered that a high concentration of these molecules can be found in the eyes limbus (basically the white part of your eye), which in hindsight makes perfect sense. Unfortunately these cells die when the eye goes blind, but people suffering from blindness have one good eye full of these little miracle-workers. And those with blindness in both eyes can receive a transplant, though they may need immune-suppression.

These leaves only one obvious question to be answered– do these mice see as mice see? Or do they now see as us humans do? Philosophical input is welcome…

STEM CELLS COME TO THE USA!!!

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on April 23, 2013 at 9:00 am

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 Stem Cells Come to the USA!

A real possibility is that all off shore facilities will go under shortly as people realize stem cells are coming to the USA.   Not only “the smart patient” but also “the smart investor” will return home.   Please forward to relevant parties and contact me if you want to know what the next step is to US based stem cell facilities and treatments.

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Brownback signs into law bill establishing adult stem cell research and treatment at KU Medical Center

Topeka — In a mix of science and anti-abortion politics, Gov. Sam Brownback on Monday signed into law a bill that establishes the nation’s first adult stem cell research and treatment center at the Kansas University Medical Center.

“I am honored to sign this bill of hope and promise and current treatments,” Brownback said.

Brownback described adult stem cell and umbilical cord blood research as an “exploding” area of new discoveries to treat people with a wide range of diseases. “KU will be the leader, Kansas will be the leader, which is fabulous in this burgeoning field,” he said.

But the bill carried political overtones.

It was sponsored by vehement abortion opponents and pushed by the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian lobbying group.

In addition, KU never asked for the legislation establishing what will be known as the Midwest Stem Cell Center, and the Legislature has yet to produce the estimated $1.1 million needed for the center’s startup.

Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at KU Medical Center, on Monday speaks during Gov. Sam Brownback’s bill-signing ceremony on legislation establishing the Midwest Stem Adult Stem Cell Center.  The center will be charged with working on adult stem cell, cord blood and related stem cell research, providing therapies to patients and serving as a clearinghouse for physicians on cutting-edge treatments.  The center is prohibited from using embryonic stem cells or cells taken from aborted fetal tissue.  Abortion opponents oppose human embryonic stem cell research because it involves the destruction of the embryo.

Dr. Buddhadeb Dawn, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases at KU Medical Center, was the only KU representative on hand at the bill-signing ceremony. He said the number of clinical trials of bone marrow stem cells for treatment of heart disease had been increasing tremendously over the past several years.

“It would be great to bring such therapies to Kansas, and the formation of such a center which would engage in adult stem cell therapy in patients would give Kansans the chance to be enrolled in such therapy and perhaps give treatment that would change their life,” he said.

David Prentice, senior fellow for life sciences at the Family Research Council, said the center “puts Kansas in a leadership position.”

State Sen. Mary Pilcher Cook, R-Shawnee, who carried the bill in the Legislature said she would push for funding the center when the Legislature returns May 8 for the wrap-up session.

“That’s all under discussion right now,” she said.

At the bill-signing ceremony, several people who have survived diseases spoke about their treatments and how they believed the new center would expand the availability of treatments for others.

Mary Rusco, of Wichita, said she received stem cells from an umbilical cord.

“I have been cancer free for four years now, and as far as I’m concerned I’m cured. I really appreciate the fact that Kansas is doing this so that other people can have access to this opportunity,” she said.

Terry Killman, of Independence, received a bone marrow transplant from his brother.

“This bill will make it that much better for more people to have the opportunity that I’ve had to live,” he said.

Summary of Senate Bill 199 ( .PDF )

VATICAN SUPPORTS STEM CELLS

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on April 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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Vatican Conference Hopes to Promote Truth on Adult Stem Cell Therapy

Thu, 11 Apr, 2013 09:32 AM PDT
During today’s first session of the Second International Vatican Adult Stem Cell Conference, scientists, doctors and patients had an opportunity to share not only the advances in adult stem cell research, but also the potential it has to transform modern day health ca…

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A Necessary Union Between Science and Faith

Thu, 11 Apr, 2013 07:01 AM PDT
A three day conference on adult stem cell research began today at the Paul VI Hall in Vatican City. The conference was sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture, as well as NeoStem, one of the leading developers in the field of cellular therapy.

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ROBIN ROBERTS HEALS WITH ADULT STEM CELLS, BONE MARROW TRANSPLANT

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm

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Robin Roberts Returns to GMA. Use of adult stem cells to treat her blood disorder overlooked

Once again a jaunt on the old Gold’s Gym treadmill paid results. Although I had forgotten all about it, Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts was making her triumphant return to ABC’s #1 rated morning show after being on medical leave following a bone marrow transplant to treat a rare blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

It was great television: a close up of Roberts who told her audience, “”I’ve been waiting 174 days to say this: ‘Good morning, America.’”

During the course of the program (obviously much of which was devoted to Roberts), she reflected on faith, family and physicians.

“There’s so many people that I want to thank throughout the morning, my doctors and nurses and family and colleagues and people who have sat in this chair and those who have blazed the trail before me,” Roberts said. “As my mother said, ‘We all have something.’ Everyone’s story has purpose and meaning and value and I share this morning, this day of celebration with everyone.”

Besides a wonderful story of triumphing over cancer, there is a special association for pro-lifers. Indeed, if the full ramifications of the stories about Roberts were more widely known, it would be a real eye-opener.

MDS damages the bone marrow, making it no longer able to make the healthy cells and platelets we all need to live. Her older sister, Sally-Ann, was Robin’s bone marrow donor. In the procedure, a patient’s damaged bone marrow is eradicated and then replaced with healthy, donated marrow.

Although the words were not used, in fact, the transplant is another example of the successful, even routine use of adult stem cells.

As we reported at the time of the transplant, hematologist-oncologist Colleen Delaney, director of the program in cord blood transplant and research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said, “We always call it a bone marrow transplant, but really it is a transplant with blood stem cells.”

Another terrific source is umbilical cord blood.

Obviously there is a better chance of success the closer the match between donor and recipient cells. Ms. Roberts was especially fortunate because her sister was an excellent match. (Finding a family match happens only about 30% of the time, according to a USA Today’s story.)

“The other 70% (more than 10,000 patients each year) have to turn to an unrelated adult donor or donated umbilical cord blood,” wrote Michelle Healy. “Often treated as waste and discarded, umbilical cords and placentas are rich with blood-forming cells, and more recent studies show the outcomes of cord blood transplants ‘are just as good as conventional donor outcomes,’ Delaney said.”

And “Because cord blood transplants don’t require the close genetic matching needed for more conventional bone marrow transplants, they hold special promise for the thousands of patients each year who can’t find a well-matched, unrelated donor, a particular challenge for people of mixed ethnicity and minority backgrounds, says Delaney.”

NRL News Today asked Dr. David Prentice, an expert on the issue of stem cells, to comment. “It is so heartening to see her return, and it further validates the life-saving abilities of adult stem cells,” he said. “I hope she’ll become a champion to speak out and educate people about the real promise of stem cells–adult stem cells.  Many more lives could be saved if only more people were aware of the successes, shown by her example and thousands of others.”

Prentice noted that “No doubt, it’s a harrowing experience for MDS patients leading up to the transplant, with chemotherapy to destroy the cancer in the body.” However, “the adult stem cell transplant is a short and simple procedure—an IV injection into a vein, and the millions of adult stem cells begin looking for a new home. In this case, they will look to make themselves at home as new bone marrow, and begin producing new red blood cells to carry oxygen, white blood cells for immunity, and platelets for clotting.”

His conclusion speaks volume:

“The more we focus on adult stem cells, the sooner we’ll find gentler and more efficient methods for transplants like this one, for other types of cancers, for anemias, as well as spinal cord injury, heart damage, and dozens of other conditions.  Adult stem cells are truly the patient’s best friend.”

ADULT STEM CELLS USED TO SUCCESSFULLY REBUILD A HUMAN TRACHEA

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 20, 2013 at 9:03 am

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Tissue-Engineered Trachea Transplant Is Adult Stem Cell Breakthrough

The first tissue-engineered trachea (windpipe), utilizing the patient’s own stem cells, has been successfully transplanted into a young woman with a failing airway. The bio-engineered trachea immediately provided the patient with a normally functioning airway, thereby saving her life.  These remarkable results provide crucial new evidence that adult stem cells, combined with biologically compatible materials, can offer genuine solutions to other serious illnesses.  In particular, the successful outcome shows it is possible to produce a tissue-engineered airway with mechanical properties that permit normal breathing and which is free from the risks of rejection seen with conventional transplanted organs. The patient has not developed antibodies to her graft, despite not taking any immunosuppressive drugs. Lung function tests performed two months after the operation were all at the better end of the normal range for a young woman.

The loss of a normal airway is devastating, but previous attempts to replace large airways have met serious problems. The 30-year-old mother of two, suffering from collapsed airways following a severe case of TB, was hospitalized in March 2008 with acute shortness of breath rendering her unable to carry out simple domestic duties or care for her children. The only conventional option remaining was a major operation to remove her left lung which carries a risk of complications and a high mortality rate.  Based on successful laboratory work previously performed by the team, and given the urgency of the situation, it was proposed that the lower trachea and the tube to the patient’s left lung (bronchus) should be replaced with a bio-engineered airway based on the scaffold of a human trachea.

A seven-centimeter tracheal segment was donated by a 51-year-old transplant donor who had who had died of cerebral hemorrhage. Spain has a policy of assumed consent for organ donation. Using a new technique developed in Padua University, the trachea was decellularised over a six-week period so that no donor cells remained.  Stem cells were obtained from the recipient’s own bone marrow, grown into a large population in Professor Martin Birchall’s lab at the University of Bristol, and matured into cartilage cells (chondrocytes) using an adapted method originally devised for treating osteoarthritis

The donor trachea was then seeded with chondrocytes on the outside, using a novel bio-reactor which incubates cells, allowing them to migrate into the tissue under conditions ideal for each individual cell type. In order to replicate the lining of the trachea, epithelial cells were seeded onto the inside of the trachea using the same bio-reactor.  Four days after seeding, the graft was used to replace the patient’s left main bronchus. The operation was performed in June 2008 at the Hospital Clinic, Barcelona, by Professor Paolo Macchiarini of the University of Barcelona.

Professor Macchiarini, lead author on the paper, said: “We are terribly excited by these results. Just four days after transplantation the graft was almost indistinguishable from adjacent normal bronchi. After one month, a biopsy elicited local bleeding, indicating that the blood vessels had already grown back successfully”.

Martin Birchall, Professor of Surgery at the University of Bristol, added: “Surgeons can now start to see and understand the very real potential for adult stem cells and tissue engineering to radically improve their ability to treat patients with serious diseases. We believe this success has proved that we are on the verge of a new age in surgical care”.

Anthony Hollander, Professor of Rheumatology and Tissue Engineering at the University of Bristol, concurred: “This successful treatment manifestly demonstrates the potential of adult stem cells to save lives”.

The patient, Claudia Castillo, a young woman from Colombia but now living in Spain, had no complications from the operation and was discharged from hospital on the tenth post-operative day. She has remained well since and has a normal quality of life. She is able to care for her children, walk up two flights of stairs and occasionally go out dancing in the evenings.

http://www.science20.com

HEARTS BEING REPAIRED THROUGH STEM CELLS

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on February 5, 2013 at 9:00 am

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Scientists Are Rebuilding Hearts With Stem Cells

Every two minutes someone in the UK has a heart attack.

Every six minutes, someone dies from heart failure.

During an attack, the heart remodels itself and dilates around the site of the injury to try to compensate, but these repairs are rarely effective. If the attack does not kill you, heart failure later frequently will.  “No matter what other clinical interventions are available, heart transplantation is the only genuine cure for this,” says Paul Riley, professor of regenerative medicine at Oxford University. “The problem is there is a dearth of heart donors.”  Transplants have their own problems – successful operations require patients to remain on toxic, immune-suppressing drugs for life and their subsequent life expectancies are not usually longer than 20 years.  The solution, emerging from the laboratories of several groups of scientists around the world, is to work out how to rebuild damaged hearts. Their weapons of choice are reprogrammed stem cells.

These researchers have rejected the more traditional path of cell therapy that you may have read about over the past decade of hope around stem cells – the idea that stem cells could be used to create batches of functioning tissue (heart or brain or whatever else) for transplant into the damaged part of the body.  Instead, these scientists are trying to understand what the chemical and genetic switches are that turn something into a heart cell or muscle cell. Using that information, they hope to program cells at will, and help the body make repairs.

It is an exciting time for a technology that no one thought possible a few years ago. In 2007, Shinya Yamanaka showed it was possible to turn adult skin cells into embryonic-like stem cells, called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), using just a few chemical factors.

His technique radically advanced stem cell biology, sweeping aside years of blockages due to the ethical objections about using stem cells from embryos. He won the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for his work in October. Researchers have taken this a step further – directly turning one mature cell type to another without going through a stem cell phase.

At Oxford, Riley has spent almost a year setting up a lab to work out how to get heart muscle to repair itself. The idea is to expand the scope of the work that got Riley into the headlines last year after a high-profile paper published in the journal Nature in which he showed a means of repairing cells damaged during a heart attack in mice. That work involved in effect turning the clock back in a layer of cells on the outside of the heart, called the epicardium, making adult cells think they were embryos again and thereby restarting their ability to repair.

During the development of the embryo, the epicardium turns into the many types of cells seen in the heart and surrounding blood vessels. After the baby is born this layer of cells loses its ability to transform. By infusing the epicardium with the protein thymosin β4 (Tβ4), Riley’s team found the once-dormant layer of cells was able to produce new, functioning heart cells. Overall, the treatment led to a 25% improvement in the mouse heart’s ability to pump blood after a month compared with mice that had not received the treatment.

Riley says finding ways to replace damaged cells via transplantation, the dominant research idea for more than a decade, has faltered. Scientists have tried out a variety of adult stem cells – derived from areas such as bone marrow, muscle and fat – turned them into heart cells and transplanted them into animal models, which initially showed good results.  But those results could never be repeated in humans with the same degree of success. “In humans, moving into clinical trials, the actual benefit, from a meta-analysis just on bone-marrow-derived cells, is a meagre 3% improvement,” he says. “That’s barely detectable clinically and unfortunately isn’t going to make a vast amount of difference to your overall quality of life.”  The original impression from rodent studies was that the transplanted cells would become new muscle and contribute to improving damaged areas, but Riley says that idea has fallen out of favour. “All they do, if anything at all, is to secrete factors that will help the heart sustain the injury, rather than necessarily offer long-term regeneration.”

That is where the reprogrammers get going. Find the chemical factors that will make a cell (a skin cell, say, or a piece of scar tissue) think it is in the womb, so it switches certain genes on and others off and becomes a new heart cell, and you can avoid the large-scale transplant altogether. All you need is an infusion of the right drugs and resident cells will do all the required repair work.

The process requires an understanding of how an embryo develops and what cues nature uses to grow all the body’s cell types from just a sperm and an egg. This ability to regenerate does not quite stop at birth: injure a one-day-old mouse’s heart, for example, and it will completely regenerate. Injure it again after a week and the heart will scar. “Within seven days, it goes from completely repairable to the adult wound-healing default position,” says Riley. “We want to understand what happens during that window.”

Many scientists believe the secrets of how to regenerate tissue are linked with an understanding of how to reverse the ageing process. Saul Villeda, of the University of California, presented work at the recent annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans where he showed that blood from young mice reversed some of the effects of ageing in older mice, improving learning and memory to a level comparable with much younger animals. Older mice had an increased number of stem cells in their brains and there was a 20% increase in connections between brain cells.

Though his work is yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, Villeda speculated the young blood was likely to be working in the older mice by increasing levels of chemical factors that tend to decline as animals get older. Bring these back, he says, and “all of a sudden you have all of these plasticity and learning and memory-related genes that are coming back”.

Prof Deepak Srivastava has already transformed scar-forming cardiac cells in mice into beating heart cells, inside living animals, using a set of chemical factors. His results were published last April in Nature.  “We’ve redeployed nature’s own toolkit in these cells to convert non-muscle cells that are in the heart into new muscle. More than half of the cells in the heart are not muscle [but] architectural cells called fibroblasts that are meant to support the muscle,” he says.

“We had the idea that if we could somehow fool those cells into thinking that they should become muscle, then we have a vast reservoir of cells that already exist within the organ that might be able to be called upon to regenerate the heart from within.”

He injected three chemical factors – called Gata4, Mef2c and Tbx5, collectively known as GMT – into the damaged region of a heart and, within a month, the non-beating cells that normally ended up becoming scar tissue had become functioning heart cells that had integrated with their neighbors.  “The factors get taken up by the fibroblasts and the non-muscle population of cells and they initiate a genome-wide switch of the program of the cells so that it now begins to activate thousands of muscle-specific genes and it turns off thousands of fibroblast genes.”

Srivastava’s direct reprogramming technique takes Yamanaka’s work further because it allows scientists to turn one type of cell into another without having to go through a stem cell phase in between, thus reducing the risk that any future therapy might induce cancer.  The method has been proven to work, so far only in Petri dishes, for blood, liver and brain cells. “Ultimately, as we learn enough about each cell type, it’s likely we might be able to make most cell types in the body with this direct reprogramming approach,” he says.

The tough task for all these scientists – from those working specifically on the heart such as Riley to those working more generally on all cell types such as Srivastava – is to identify and catalogue the thousands of chemical factors that are at work in the various stages of cell development, and that are the keys to the transformation of one cell into another.

“We’re trying to do the same experiments we did in the heart in the pig’s heart because it is very similar in size and physiology to human hearts. If it works there and it is safe, then we’d be ready for a human clinical trial,” says Srivastava.

www.businessinsider.com

FOR REGENERATIVE MEDICINE, ADIPOSE (FAT) STEM CELLS ARE BEST

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on January 26, 2013 at 10:41 am

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50% MORE REGENERATIVE STEM CELLS IN FAT THAN IN CORD BLOOD: 

“Adult stem cells are derived from blood, umbilical cords, bone marrow, placenta, fat tissue, muscle, nasal neurological, breast milk, menstruation, dental pulp, lungs, eyes, pancreas and many more locations. While some are better than others for regenerative treatment, it has long been believed that those cells derived from reproductive associated organs are some of the most powerful.  This study shows that umbilical cord derived stem cells are not as great as once believed.”

In fact, compared to the 100% of mesenchymal stem cells found in cells derived from adipose (fat), only 67% of cord blood stem cells are mesenchymal and lend themselves toward regenerative treatments.*  While bone marrow derived stem cells also have 100% mesenchymal cells, they have reduced proliferation and have a history of causing malignant cells – ‘In addition, Izadpanah et al.** demonstrated that long-term cultivation of MSC beyond passage 20 may result in their transformation to malignant cells.”***


For regenerative medicine, nothing beats adipose derived stem cells. -dg

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Only A Specific Group Of Cord Blood Stem Cells Found To Be Efficient For Use In Regenerative Medicine

Scientists at the University of Granada and Alcala de Henares University have found that not all isolated stem cells are equally valid in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. In a paper recently published in the prestigious journal Tissue Engineering the researchers report that, contrary to what was thought, only a specific group of cord blood stem cells (CB-SC) maintained in culture are useful for therapeutic purposes.

At present, CB-SCs are key to regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. From all types of CB-SC those called “Wharton’s jelly stem cells (HWJSC)” are stirring up the interest of specialists in regenerative medicine, due to their accessibility and great ability to develop into several types of tissue and modulate immune responses.

Through a combination of microscopy and microanalysis essays, and the study of the genes involved in cell viability, the researchers discovered that only a specific group of cord blood stem cells (CB-SC) maintained in culture is useful for therapeutic purposes

The Most Suitable Cells

The relevance of this paper, which was the cover article in the journal Tissue Engineering, lies in the possibility to select the most suitable HWJSC for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. According to these researchers, the different studies with HWJSC have obtained contradictory results because researchers failed to previously select the most suitable cell group.

The results of this study also open the possibility to select stem cell subgroups from different tissues, in order to improve the therapeutical efficacy of different regenerative medicine protocols.

This research study was conducted by the Tissue Engineering research group at the University of Granada Histology Department coordinated by professor Antonio Campos Muñoz, who recently created artificial skin and a cornea by using stem cells and new biomaterials developed in Granada.

The research group is also composed of professors Alaminos Mingorance and Ingrid Garzón. Professor Garzon was awarded a prize at the World Congress on Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine held in Seul for a preliminary study on the same issue.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/254790.php

* , *** Stem Cells. 2006 May;24(5):1294-301. Epub 2006 Jan 12.

** – Izadpanah R, Kaushal D, Kriedt C, Tsien F, Patel B, Dufour J, Bunnell BA. Long-term in vitro expansion alters the biology of adult mesenchymal stem cells. Cancer Res.                                                           2008;68:4229–4238.

TASK FORCE REJECTS EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on December 31, 2012 at 9:32 am
(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

The National Task Force on Stem Cell Therapy Treatment, which comprises a group of respected doctors, with influence from the archdiocese, proposed to the Minister of Health, Dr. Perry Gomez calling for an overhaul of existing legislation concerning medical tourism in the Bahamas.  Stem Cell research and therapy has the potential to generate over $100 million in the medical tourism industry, according to the government’s task force, which delivered its verdict on the country’s proposed plunge into the controversial science yesterday.  “We put together the framework for stem cell work to be carried out to the benefit of Bahamians in an ethical way and to support the potential for a medical tourism industry, and we delved into the specifics of what can be done and what should not be done.” said Dr Arthur Porter.

-DG

The National Task Force on Stem Cell Therapy Treatment has recommended to the Bahamas Government that embryonic stem cells should not be used to create human stem cells in this country, said the Task Force’s chairman and managing director of the Cancer Centre, Professor Arthur T. Porter.

Professor Porter presented a copy of the Task Force’s recommendations to Minister of Health the Hon. Dr. Perry Gomez during a press conference held at the Ministry of Health, Thursday, December 27, 2012.  The Chairman told Dr. Gomez that the Task Force’s members unanimously support all of the recommendations within the report.

In November 2012, the Bahamas Government appointed the Task Force to develop a series of recommendations regarding the possible use of Stem Cell Therapy in The Bahamas.  The Committee had to weigh all the pros and cons associated with Stem Cell use, including the more controversial use of embryonic Stem Cells. The Task Force also had to look at how adult Stem Cells would be used.

Members of the Task Force include Dr. Robin Roberts, Director, University of the West Indies School of Clinical Medicine and Research, Bahamas Campus; Rev. Angela Palacious, Anglican Archdiocese; Dr. Duane Sands, Senior Cardiovascular Surgeon, Princess Margaret Hospital; Dr. Paul Ward, Chief of Services, Rand Memorial Hospital, Grand Bahama; Dr. Barrett McCartney, Senior Anesthesiologist and Pain Specialist, Doctors Hospital and Dr. Indira Martin, Laboratory Research, Ministry of Health.

Dr. Wesley Francis, President of the Medical Association of The Bahamas; Dr. Glen Beneby, Medical Director, Public Hospitals Authority and Mrs. Michelle Pindling-Sands, Attorney-at-law, also sit on the Task Force.  When the Task Force was first introduced, Professor Porter explained that there are two types of stem cells.

“Embryonic cells usually derive from a five-day embryo or earlier, which have the ability to become any cell in the body whether a brain cell, a fat cell or a nerve cell. They are pluripotent (capable of differentiating into one of many cell types).

“The second type are the adult stem cells, which are smaller in quantity and can be found in most tissue and organ systems, but which lack the flexibility of what they can be, and so scientist have tried to take some of the adult Stem Cells and make them able to be more or less like embryonic stem cells to sort of get around the problem.”  Professor Porter explained that during the Task Force’s deliberations, it was found that there is no need for the use of embryonic Stem Cells, because research is finding that adult Stem Cells can be transformed to be able to act as Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells.  As a result, he said there is no need to focus on embryonic stem cells in The Bahamas.

Professor Porter said the use of umbilical cord blood, which has been used for over 15 years in different parts of the world, should also be permitted in The Bahamas.  “The use of somatic cell nuclear transfer, which is a type of technique in which adult Stem Cells are encouraged to behave, as early Stem Cells should also be used.  “But again recognizing that we are on the frontiers of new science, so the appropriate clinical trials, the appropriate committees, the appropriate ethics support should be given to the use of these areas.”

Professor Porter said many have asked the Task Force for an opinion regarding reproductive human cloning. “The Task Force was quite committed in its opinion that reproductive cloning should not be permitted.”  He added that the Task Force felt that it was important that there be widespread education and consultation with various stakeholder groups that will be involved in making the ultimate decision, so people would become aware of the importance of Stem Cells, some of the ethical issues and be able to opine in this regard.  Professor Porter said the Task Force believed that Stem Cells would be an important part of the country’s medical tourism thrust, but the Government needs to broadly review what is necessary for a successful medical tourism industry.  Dr. Sands added, “We have to understand that this is a rapidly evolving field and there are many countries in the world that have embraced medical tourism and as such have tried desperately to ensure the process of approval or the rapid acceleration of new projects is done in a timely fashion.  “Similarly, efforts have been made to ensure that phenomenal scrutiny of the proposed projects, the participants, etc., is carefully done.

He said legislation in The Bahamas has to be robust enough to protect the integrity and the reputation of the country while at the same time promoting good science and this is an on-going process. “We need to make sure the laws are constantly keeping up with what is happening on the ground.”  Dr. Gomez said after he reviews the report, he would present it to Cabinet early next year so that policies can be made surrounding Stem Cell Therapy in the country.

http://www.bahamaislandsinfo.com

BRAIN CELLS DERIVED FROM URINE

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on December 15, 2012 at 8:58 am

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“Scientists have been successfully deriving stem cells from ordinary human cells for years.  Researchers have reprogrammed testicle stem cells to make insulin and even harvested adult stem cells from the scalps and brain linings of human corpses.  A recent study published in the journal Natural Methods, showcases the ability to take kidney cells that are shed and excreted through urine and transform them into brain stem cells, without the unpredictable threat of tumors when transplanted to the host.  This new method could be useful in treating neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.”

-DG

The technique is described in a study that was published in the journal Nature Methods (Wang, et al., Nature Methods (2012) doi:10.1038/nmeth.2283). Unlike embryonic stem cells, which are derived through the destruction of embryos and have the potential to cause tumors, these neural progenitor cells do not form tumors and are made quickly and without the destruction of human embryos.

Stem cell biology expert Duanqing Pei and his co-workers from China’s Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health, which is part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, previously published a paper that showed that epithelial cells from the kidney that are sloughed into urine can be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) (Ting Zhou, et al., Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 2011 vol. 22 no. 7 1221-1228, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2011010106). In this study, Pei and his colleagues used retroviruses to insert pluripotency genes into kidney-based cells to reprogram them. Retroviruses are efficient vectors for genes transfer, but they insert their virus genomes into the genomes of the host cell. This insertion event can cause mutations, and for this reason, retroviral-based introduction of genes into cells are not the preferred way to generate iPSCs for clinical purposes.

Researchers use retroviruses to routinely reprogram cultured skin and blood cells into iPSCs, and these iPSCs can be differentiated into any adult cell type. However, urine is a much more accessible source of cells.

In this present study, Pei’s team used a different technique to introduce genes into the cells from urine; they used “episomal vectors,” which is an overly fancy way of saying that they placed the pluripotency genes on small circles of DNA that were then pushed into the cells. Episomal vectors can reprogram adult cells into iPSCs, but they do so at lower levels of efficiency. Nevertheless, episomal vectors have an added advantage in that the vectors transiently express the pluripotency genes in cells and then are lost without inserting into the host cell genome. This makes episomal vectors inherently safer for clinical purposes.

In one of their experiments, perfectly round colonies of reprogrammed cells from urine that resembled pluripotent stem cells after only 12 days. This is exactly half the time typically required to produce iPSCs. When cultured further, the colonies assumed a rosette shape that is common to neural stem cells.

When Pei and others cultured his urine-derived iPSCs in a culture conditions that normally used for cultured neurons, these cells formed functional neurons in the lab. Could these cells work in the brain of a laboratory animal? Transplantation of these cells into the brains of newborn rats showed that, first of all, they did not form tumors, and, secondly, they took on the shape of mature neurons and expressed the molecular markers of neurons.

The beauty of this experiment is that neural progenitors cells (NPCs) grow in culture and researchers can generate buckets of cells for experiments. However, when cells are directly reprogrammed to neurons, even though they make neurons faster than iPSCs.

James Ellis, a medical geneticist at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario, Canada who makes patient-specific iPSCs to study autism-spectrum disorders, said: “This could definitely speed things up.”

Another plus of this study is that urine can be collected from nearly any patient and banked to produce instant sources of cells from patients, according to geneticist Marc Lalande, who creates iPSCs to study inherited neurological diseases at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington. Lalande is quite intrigued by the possibility of making iPSCs and NPCs from urine draw from the same patient. Lalande added: “We work on childhood disorders,” he says. “And it’s easier to get a child to give a urine sample than to prick them for blood.”

Source:  http://beyondthedish.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/making-brain-cells-from-urine/

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