Posts Tagged ‘duke’



empty-cup  819px-Complete_neuron_cell_diagram_en.svg

15 years ago, modern science was confronted with the premise that HEART type cells could regenerate, overturning hundreds of years of empirical knowledge including over 400 years of clinical trial results (The first clinical trial of a novel therapy was conducted unintentionally by the Renaissance surgeon Ambroise Parè in 1537).  Ask your doctor if heart cells can regenerate.  There is still ENORMOUS resistance.

10 years ago, modern science was confronted with the premise that BRAIN type cells could regenerate, overturning hundreds of years of empirical knowledge including over 400 years of clinical trial results.  Ask your doctor if brain cells can regenerate.  There is still ENORMOUS resistance.

3 days ago Duke researchers published a study in the peer reviewed journal Nature about how they “found a new type of neuron in the adult brain that is capable of telling stem cells to make more new neurons.”

While this is incredible news, science is still moving too slowly for those suffering from chronic and terminal diseases, dementia, TBI and other neurological disorders.  Is it time to revamp the system?  Is it time to approach healing and science with the premise that the human body has regenerative capabilities and we should tap into those systems to heal disorders instead of treating symptoms far removed from the original disorders?  What other premises are in place which are blocking medical advancements?

A story from Zen Buddhism:
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.  The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”  “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

Regenerative medicine is a new frontier.  Already around for decades, most have yet to recognize it as the huge paradigm shift which necessitates our emptier our cups and approaching medicine from a completely new perspective.  A new perspective which includes an empty cup.

Is your thinking, holding you back?



In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on November 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

DURHAM, N.C. – A team of Duke Medicine researchers has engineered cartilage from induced pluripotent stem cells that were successfully grown and sorted for use in tissue repair and studies into cartilage injury and osteoarthritis.

The finding is reported online Oct. 29, 2012, in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and suggests that induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs, may be a viable source of patient-specific articular cartilage tissue.

“This technique of creating induced pluripotent stem cells – an achievement honored with this year’s Nobel Prize in medicine for Shimya Yamanaka of Kyoto University – is a way to take adult stem cells and convert them so they have the properties of embryonic stem cells,” said Farshid Guilak, PhD, Laszlo Ormandy Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke and senior author of the study.

“Adult stems cells are limited in what they can do, and embryonic stem cells have ethical issues,” Guilak said. “What this research shows in a mouse model is the ability to create an unlimited supply of stem cells that can turn into any type of tissue – in this case cartilage, which has no ability to regenerate by itself.”

Articular cartilage is the shock absorber tissue in joints that makes it possible to walk, climb stairs, jump and perform daily activities without pain. But ordinary wear-and-tear or an injury can diminish its effectiveness and progress to osteoarthritis. Because articular cartilage has a poor capacity for repair, damage and osteoarthritis are leading causes of impairment in older people and often requires joint replacement.

In their study, the Duke researchers, led by Brian O. Diekman, PhD, a post-doctoral associate in orthopaedic surgery, aimed to apply recent technologies that have made iPSCs a promising alternative to other tissue engineering techniques, which use adult stem cells derived from the bone marrow or fat tissue.

One challenge the researchers sought to overcome was developing a uniformly differentiated population of chondrocytes, cells that produce collagen and maintain cartilage, while culling other types of cells that the powerful iPSCs could form.

To achieve that, the researchers induced chondrocyte differentiation in iPSCs derived from adult mouse fibroblasts by treating cultures with a growth medium. They also tailored the cells to express green fluorescent protein only when the cells successfully became chondrocytes. As the iPSCs differentiated, the chondrocyte cells that glowed with the green fluorescent protein were easily identified and sorted from the undesired cells.

The tailored cells also produced greater amounts of cartilage components, including collagen, and showed the characteristic stiffness of native cartilage, suggesting they would work well repairing cartilage defects in the body.

“This was a multi-step approach, with the initial differentiation, then sorting, and then proceeding to make the tissue,” Diekman said. “What this shows is that iPSCs can be used to make high quality cartilage, either for replacement tissue or as a way to study disease and potential treatments.”

Diekman and Guilak said the next phase of the research will be to use human iPSCs to test the cartilage-growing technique.

“The advantage of this technique is that we can grow a continuous supply of cartilage in a dish,” Guilak said. “In addition to cell-based therapies, iPSC technology can also provide patient-specific cell and tissue models that could be used to screen for drugs to treat osteoarthritis, which right now does not have a cure or an effective therapy to inhibit cartilage loss.”

In addition to Guilak and Diekman, study authors include Nicolas Christoforou; Vincent P. Willard; Alex Sun; Johannah Sanchez-Adams; and Kam W. Leong.

The National Institutes of Health (AR50245, AR48852, AG15768, AR48182, Training Grant T32AI007217) and the Arthritis Foundation funded the study.

By Duke Medicine News and Communications – http://www.DukeHealth.org

microRNA – New Kid On The Block Has Journalistic Baggage

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on April 30, 2012 at 3:58 am

“Duke University researchers used molecules called microRNAs to convert scar tissue (called fibroblasts) into heart muscle cells in a living mouse”

That’s great! Unfortunately, the author of the article foolishly decided to pit “microRNA – The New Kid On The Block” against the decade long reigning champ, Adult Stem Cells…and he needs to get his story straight.


New Kids On The Block

From the start, the author presents almost no accurate information about adult stem cells, their decade of history, successes, studies, trials, patients treated, safety, efficacy and potency.  He is incredibly dated on the understanding of adult stem cells and straight up wrong/ignorant on many of his points.  His original 3 point comparison is to Embryonic stem cells, already shown to be far inferior to Adult Stem Cells in every way including their potency.  He then states Adult Stem Cells have: “…a limited capacity to form other types of cells” which is completely wrong. 

He then quotes the Duke University doctor, ‘The results of using these adult stem cells for tissue regeneration are “not as satisfying as one would like.” 

  • A. “not as satisfying as one would like.” is perhaps the most unscientific assessment I’ve ever heard 
  • B.  I’m surprised to hear this from the doctor as Duke University has had tremendous success utilizing stem cells in treating pediatric Cerebral Palsy/Ataxia 
  • C.  Would he be satisfied if there was a decade long history of cardiac tissue regeneration studies?  There is: https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/heart-disease-treatment/
  • D.  Would he be satisfied if you could grow an entire heart from scratch, from a patients’ own stem cells?  You can.


I suppose the author is not entirely to blame as the assertion within the peer reviewed article is completely erroneous as well: “this is the first report of direct cardiac reprogramming in vivo.”  Wrong!

I would further question whether microRNA cells are “smart” like adult stem cells are.  Gene therapy to turn heart muscle scar tissue into heart muscle is great but then you have a scar shaped piece of heart muscle.  Does it beat in perfect time with the rest of the heart muscle or is it asynchronous?  Can it grow an entirely new heart from scratch as adult stem cells can? (No, it can not)

An adult stem cell grows a cardiac cell from it’s proverbial birth and the cardiac cells conform from ‘birth’ and as they develop to the surrounding tissue and work in unison with the adjacent cells.  It would appear the microRNA transforms the scar tissue at a later stage of the cells growth.  This is then perhaps an “older cell” with it’s own inherent programming and limitations. Prone to it’s own agenda, these doppelganger heart cells may cause conflicts with the existing cells and the rest of the heart muscle.

Just changing scar to muscle is only a fraction of what stem cells can do.  “Smart” adult stem cells will build the cells needed, put them in the places they are needed, create valves where valves are needed, capillaries if those are needed, bring dead heart tissue back to life and then some will migrate down to the pancreas and heal that as well.

microRNA gene therapy may have a long future of success and I am sure there are some applications which they will be great.  To compare them to adult stem cells in the context of regenerative medicine as the author has done, especially without a proper understanding of the safety and efficacy record of adult stem cells, especially in the field of cardiac regenerative medicine which has a decade long history (the longest of all practical and clinical research), is like bringing a rubber knife to a gun fight.


Repairing the heart without using stem cells

By Alex Crees Published April 27, 2012 FoxNews.com

  • stem cell

When a person suffers a heart attack, scar tissue forms over the damaged areas of the heart, reducing the organ’s function.  However, in a recent study, scientists successfully turned this scar tissue into working heart muscle without the use of stem cells.

Duke University researchers used molecules called microRNAs to convert scar tissue (called fibroblasts) into heart muscle cells in a living mouse, improving the heart’s ability to pump blood.

According to the scientists, this process is much simpler than stem cell transplants and has none of the ethical concerns, making it a potential turning point in the science of tissue regeneration.

“Right now, there’s no good evidence stem cells can do the job,” senior author Dr. Victor Dzau, a James B. Duke professor of medicine and chancellor of health affairs at Duke University, told FoxNews.com.

Scientists believe embryonic stem cells are the best to use for tissue regeneration because they are pluripotent—meaning they can become any type of cell in the body.  However, Dzau said there have not been enough experiments done to prove how functional the stem cells are in regenerating tissues and whether or not they may form deadly tumors.

Additionally, there are ethical concerns about using cells derived from a human embryo, he said.

Meanwhile, adult stem cells avoid the controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells but have a limited capacity to form other types of cells.  The results of using these adult stem cells for tissue regeneration are “not as satisfying as one would like,” Dzau said.

Rather than stem cells, the new method developed by Dzau’s team uses microRNA molecules—which typically control gene activity—and delivers them into the scar tissue that develops after a heart attack.  The microRNAs are able to reprogram, or trick, the scar tissue into becoming heart muscle again instead.

Testing is still in its early stages, but so far, the method appears to be relatively easy, and the data looks very promising, according to the researchers.

“It’s a much simplified, feasible way of causing regeneration; very easy to use as therapy,” Dzau said.  “With stem cells, you have to take them from the embryo or tissue in the body, grow them in culture, and re-inject them—and then there can be technical and biological problems.

“With microRNA, after a heart attack you can simply convert some of the fibroblasts and tell them to become the right cell type and regenerate,” he said.

The method also has the potential to treat stroke, spinal cord injuries, chronic conditions such as heart disease—and even the normal damage that can come with aging.  It can feasibly be used for any type of organ in the body, though the process of converting the cells may be different for each organ.

“Right now, our work is proof of concept,” Dzau said, adding that the method must still be tested in then larger animals, and if successful there, it can move onto human clinical trials.  “But one could think about all these things of possibilities.  Could you use it to treat the disease of aging and losing brain cells?  Can you convert other cells in the brain to working brain cells?

“It’s a significant finding because it changes the way we think about regenerating tissues,” Dzau said.  “It breaks open a whole new area.”

The study was funded in part by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and published Thursday in the journal Circulation Research.

Duke U. Mends Broken Hearts

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on October 11, 2009 at 5:40 pm


Duke University research is predated by the cardiac research by Prof Doris Taylor.  In 2005, Dr Taylor rinses rat hearts with detergent until the cells washed away and all that remained was a skeleton of tissue translucent as wax paper. She then injected the scaffold with fresh heart (stem) cells from newborn rats.  Four days later, “We could see these little areas that were beginning to beat.  By eight days, we could see the whole heart beating.”  The experiment, reported in the journal Nature Medicine, marked the first time scientists had created a functioning heart in the lab from biological tissue.

Duke U. Mends Broken Hearts

By mimicking the way embryonic stem cells develop into heart muscle in a lab, Duke University bioengineers believe they have taken an important first step toward growing a living “heart patch” to repair heart tissue damaged by disease.


In a series of experiments using mouse embryonic stem cells, the bioengineers used a novel mold of their own design to fashion a three-dimensional “patch” made up of heart muscle cells, known as cardiomyocytes. The new tissue exhibited the two most important attributes of heart muscle cells -– the ability to contract and to conduct electrical impulses. The mold looks much like a piece of Chex cereal in which researchers varied the shape and length of the pores to control the direction and orientation of the growing cells.


CHex Cereal

The researchers grew the cells in an environment much like that found in natural tissues. They encapsulated the cells within a gel composed of the blood-clotting protein fibrin, which provided mechanical support to the cells, allowing them to form a three-dimensional structure. They also found that the cardiomyocytes flourished only in the presence of a class of “helper” cells known as cardiac fibroblasts, which comprise as much as 60 percent of all cells present in a human heart.


Fibroblast Cells

via New strategy for mending broken hearts? | Machines Like Us.

‘No proof’ of benefit to children????

In ALL ARTICLES on September 23, 2009 at 11:26 am

The factual information is only half here and the conclusions are all wrong! My comments in red. -dg

No proof’ of benefit to children

By REBECCA TODD – The PressLast updated 05:00 23/09/2009

Stem-cell treatment is “highly experimental”, with “potential hazards“, the Paediatric Society of New Zealand warns.

Re: “highly experimental”
  • There have been thousands of adult/repair stem cell treatments with virtually no side effects and a significant proportion were successful.
Re: “potential hazards”
  • By not differentiating between the problematic embryonic stem cells with a history of causing tumors and the non-problematic adult stem cells with a history of treating people successfully, the author  effectively generalizes to the point of ridiculousness.  This is like saying: “all bacteria is bad.” (think pro-biotic and beneficial flora in the digetive tract)

… society president Rosemary Marks said the therapy (had) no controlled studies to back claims of dramatic improvements.

Re: “No controlled studies:”
  • 5,030 scholarly papers when you type “stem cell” and cerebral palsy into google’s scholarly papers
  • 2,572 clinical trials completed or in process when you type “stem cell” into clinicaltrials.gov (After “studies,” scientists perform even more rigorous clinical trials to back up their findings.)
  • 1,160,000 scholarly papers when you type “stem cell” into google’s scholarly papers

It said the stem-cell operation carried risks of introducing viral diseases or bacterial infections, and even malignant tumours developing after the transplant.

Re: “viral diseases, bacterial infections, malignant tumours”

  1. Any blood drawn that goes through a lab is at risk of “viral diseases or bacterial infections.”
  2. So too, any stem cell rich sample drawn that goes through a lab is at risk of “viral diseases or bacterial infections.”
  3. Evidence supports that the risk is the same for both and standard safe practice of lab protocols removes this risk almost entirely.
  4. ONLY embryonic stem cells have a history of creating tumors and malignant tumors.
  5. Adult stem cells have no history of generating tumors in thousands of studies, clinical trials and patients treated.

“…stem-cell treatment for children with cerebral palsy is unproven…

Re: “Unproven”

“Most centres offering this treatment also follow the treatment with intensive physical-therapy programmes,” the pamphlet said. “It is very difficult to know whether improvements are the result of the stem-cell treatment itself, or the intensive physical therapy, or are the result of the child growing and developing.”

Re: “It is very difficult to know whether improvements are the result of the stem-cell treatment itself, or the intensive physical therapy, or are the result of the child growing and developing.”

“…there was “no evidence” that using your own cord blood had benefits, he said.”

Re: “no evidence”
  • One stem cell center uses a treatment method involving any cord blood.  The cord blood does not have to be autologous or from the patient’s own body.  So far, it’s been effective in treating cerebral palsy with an 80 percent success rate in over 200 patients.

Cerebral Palsy Improvement seen after stem cells

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on September 23, 2009 at 10:50 am

Cerebral Palsy

Dramatic cerebral palsy improvement seen after cord blood stem celll treatment

March 26th, 2008 by Donald Saiontz | PERMALINK

NBC’s Today Show recently reported on the story about a toddler with cerebral palsy, who experienced dramatic improvements in his disability following an experimental procedure involving a stem cell transplant. While still an unproven treatment, this provides hope that some children may be able to recover from cerebral palsy, or at least experience improvement of cerebral palsy symptoms.

Dallas Hextell, a 2-year-old from Sacramento, California, received an infusion of his own umbilical cord blood as part of a Duke University clinical trial. Within five days, he showed improvements in the limitations imposed by the condition, and his parents are hopeful that a cerebral palsy recovery, with no signs of the disability, may be possible for Dallas by the time he is 7-years-old.

video: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/23569985#23569985
via http://www.youhavealawyer.com/blog/2008/03/26/cerebral-palsy-improvement/

CATCH UP! US Medical Establishment still blind to Adult Stem Cell Benefits!

What are they waiting for?

What are they waiting for?

There are hundreds of peer reviewed publications that state the extraordinary benefits of adult stem cells in treating debilitating and deadly diseases…thousands of transplants around the world that show the benefits of adult stem cell treatments…and it is too soon to judge stem cell success?

What are they waiting for?  A drug made from adult stem cells that can be patented and sold?  The first treatment from embryonic stem cells that is over 10-50 years away?  Oh, right.  This is America.  That’s exactly what they are waiting for! -DG


By SHARI ROAN -Los Angeles Times -Updated: 02/26/2009 01:41:54 AM PST

Cynthia and Derak Hextell of Sacramento banked the umbilical… (LIZ O. BAYLEN/Los Angeles Times)

Walking, smiling and fidgeting, 3-year-old Dallas Hextell has become a poster child for the promise of stem cell therapy, a cutting edge treatment approach that may one day heal diseases such as diabetes, brain injury and Parkinson’s disease.

But he has also become a symbol, researchers say, of the worst side of experimental medicine: jumping to conclusions.

When Dallas was born, his parents Derak and Cynthia Hextell had arranged for a private blood bank to collect and store their son’s umbilical cord blood on the remote chance that he or another family member might some day need it.

At 9 months, Dallas was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a group of physical disorders related to brain injury around the time of birth. The Sacramento couple believes he improved dramatically after having an infusion of his own cord blood in July 2007 at Duke University as part of a trial of several dozen children.

The grateful couple appeared with Dallas on NBC’s “Today” show last March to alert others to the lifesaving qualities of umbilical cord blood. They have started a foundation to raise awareness about cord blood banking and are collaborating with a company to promote private banking.

But the story of one little boy has not yet changed the minds of major medical organizations. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation and other groups do not recommend private cord blood banking, because there is little evidence that the expensive process will pay off for families…!?

via TOO SOON TO JUDGE STEM CELL SUCCESS – MontereyHerald.com :.

%d bloggers like this: