Posts Tagged ‘harvard’

A TREATMENT FOR ALS? Neural stem cell transplants slow progression of disease

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on January 3, 2013 at 2:33 pm
A treatment for ALS?
Neural stem cell transplants slow progression of disease


“The transplanted neural stem cells help by producing factors that preserve the health and function of the host’s remaining nerve cells. They also reduce inflammation and suppress the number of disease-causing cells in the host’s spinal cord. The neural stem cells did not replace deteriorating nerve cells in the mice with ALS.  Researchers observed improved motor performance and respiratory function in the treated mice. The neural stem cell transplant also slowed the disease’s progression.

Twenty-five percent of the treated ALS mice in the study survived for one year or more — roughly three to four times longer than the untreated mice.”

Results from a meta-analysis of 11 independent amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research studies are giving hope to the ALS community by showing, for the first time, that the fatal disease may be treatable.

Researchers say progress in treating ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, may be made by targeting new mechanisms revealed by neural stem cell-based studies.

“This significant research will help us better understand the mechanisms underlying motor neuron diseases,” said Yang (Ted) Teng, Harvard Medical School associate professor of surgery at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and one of the study’s co-lead authors. Teng is also director of the Spinal Cord Injury and Stem Cell Biology Research Laboratory in the Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women’s.

The research studies were conducted at Brigham and Women’s; the Harvard affiliates Children’s Hospital Boston and Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System; Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute; University of Massachusetts Medical School; Johns Hopkins University; State University of New York Upstate Medical University; and Columbia University.

“This is not a cure for ALS. But it shows the potential that mechanisms used by neural stem cells in our study have for improving an ALS patient’s quality of life and length of life,” said Yang (Ted) Teng, one of the principal investigators of Project ALS’ consortium project. File photo by Justin Ide/Harvard Staff Photographer

ALS causes nerve cells in the spinal cord to die, eventually taking away a person’s ability to move or even breathe. A decade of research conducted at multiple institutions showed, however, that when neural stem cells were transplanted into multilevels of the spinal cord of a mouse model with familial ALS, disease onset and progression slowed, motor and breathing function improved, and treated mice survived three to four times longer than untreated mice.

A summary of the findings from all 11 studies was published online in December in Science Translational Medicine.

“This work sheds new light on detrimental roles played by non-neuronal cells in triggering motor neuron death, and these events should be targeted for developing more effective therapeutics to treat ALS,” Teng said.

The transplanted neural stem cells help by producing factors that preserve the health and function of the host’s remaining nerve cells. They also reduce inflammation and suppress the number of disease-causing cells in the host’s spinal cord. The neural stem cells did not replace deteriorating nerve cells in the mice with ALS.

Researchers observed improved motor performance and respiratory function in the treated mice. The neural stem cell transplant also slowed the disease’s progression. Twenty-five percent of the treated ALS mice in the study survived for one year or more — roughly three to four times longer than the untreated mice.

“This is not a cure for ALS,” said Teng, who is one of the principal investigators of Project ALS’ consortium project. “But it shows the potential that mechanisms used by neural stem cells in our study have for improving an ALS patient’s quality of life and length of life.”

To read the full story, visit the Harvard Medical School website.


In Medical Marijuana on June 12, 2012 at 12:16 am

The title is facetious and the following is in response to this comment:

“…I can tell you SMOKE of any kind is not good for you. Pot smoke is not magic. Anyone saying otherwise is spreading propaganda.” Bob (we’ll call him Bob)
My response:
Propoganda? Interesting word choice given the history of anti-marijuana propaganda, but ok, here we go…

Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half, [Harvard] Study Shows
But if Bob is still vehemently against SMOKING marijuana…
Lighting up giving you aches? Try some MJ space cakes!!
THC is your friend…weed tinctures will help you mend!!
Smoke make you recoil? Try hemp oil!!
Don’t criticize…vap-o-rize!!
Perhaps our friend Bob is anti smoke,not anti marijuana’s benefits?

You see Bob, just because I enjoyed drinking a relaxing tea made out of stinging nettles today doesn’t mean I want to rub those same stinging nettles on my private parts. What’s my point? Hate the bad delivery system, not the incredibly beneficial plant.

You site Tommy Chong getting prostate cancer as an anti0marijuana anecdote…

and since we are trying to see the forest and not the trees by exploring the many methods of ingesting marijuana other than smoking it, maybe you can’t connect marijuana use to prostate cancer (unless he put it in his rear, which some people do).  In fact, perhaps if Tommy Chong took marijuana enemas he would have avoided prostate cancer or could heal it now…WHAT!?  Marijuana enemas, does such a thing exist?  Apparently, yes:

“Marijuana tea enema solution causes a particular kind of relaxation that is extremely helpful in aiding those who have chronic pain-related illnesses (especially adult colic), loss of appetite (especially from HIV or AIDS), multiple sclerosis (MS), or are suffering through chemotherapy or opiate withdraws.” http://enemasolutions.com/marijuana-enema/marijuana-tea-enema-solution-recipe.html

But since Chong is a singular example and an anecdotal (not clinically relevant) example and he is indeed now actually TREATING HIS PROSTATE CANCER WITH HEMP OIL http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31749_162-57450353-10391698/tommy-chong-using-pot-to-treat-prostate-cancer/ maybe he is a bad example for your position in the argument and even better, a solid example for my side of the argument (thanks!).

Pot isn’t the devil Bob, ignorance is.


In ALL ARTICLES on September 15, 2011 at 8:58 am
Tail Spin
Posted Sep 9,2010


The regeneration process went slightly awry for this day gecko, which lost its tail—and grew back two. Photo: Joel Sartore

To escape a predator, it doesn’t cost some lizards an arm and a leg—just a tail. The wiggling appendage is left behind as a distraction as the lizard gets away. Special cells at the fracture site then trigger growth of a new tail. Several amphibians and reptiles possess an ability to regrow portions of a lost tail or limb. Now some of the cells that make this happen are getting attention from researchers. A 2010 Harvard review of amphibian regeneration-cell research included how findings could relate to human stem cells, which can also produce new tissue. “The promise will be to figure out what’s the same and what’s different about regeneration mechanisms,” says Cliff Tabin, a geneticist who worked on the review. He hopes scientists will learn how animals that regenerate “get limbs and muscle, then hook that up with the bone, and have nerves seamlessly connect to the rest of the nervous system.” Even if animal and human cells aren’t found to regenerate in similar ways, the comparison “can give us a direct model to be applied to clinical studies,” says Tabin. “It’s a creative way to improve human health.” —Dana Cetrone

New Advances In Cancer Treatment Revealed | News Fire

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on August 9, 2010 at 12:35 am

New Advances In Cancer Treatment Revealed

Writer: Robert Valenzuela on Aug 8 2010.

MicroRNA molecule increases number of blood stem cells and may help improve cancer treatment.

There’s a new means by which the number of hematopoietic stem cells can be manipulated, cells which produce blood and immune system cells, according to the researchers who made the identification.

In an online report from the Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute recognize a minute RNA molecule that boosts the amount of these blood stem cells, in a move that may lead to the upgrading of blood system cancer therapies.

“This novel molecule raises blood stem cell numbers by suppressing the normal cell-death process,” explains David Scadden, MD, director of the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine and senior author of the report. “We’ve known that these non-coding RNAs can define what an immature cell will become, but none has previously been identified that can tell a blood system stem cell whether to live or die.”

Short strands of RNA not engaged in the making of proteins, called MicroRNAs, have the ability to connect and shut the expression of the genes in question and have a valuable part in cell growth and differentiation, together with the procedure involving the maturity of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) into white blood cells. T

he processes by which the sizes of the population of HSC are controlled are still unidentified and researchers are trying to find out if microRNAs have something to do with it. And having discovered that in the absence of the enzyme DICER, an essential part in making microRNAs, will cause the death of HSCs, the involvement of microRNA in supporting HSC levels has come to light.

Follow up research has confirmed the presence of a group of microRNA at the increased levels in HSCs and revealed that one of them is miRNA, which raised the volume of HSCs by shielding them from the developments that causes cell death responsible for containing the number of cells. It is only at the stem cell-level that the ability of the miRNA to protect HSCs is manifested and this may have something to do with protein Bak1, a cell-death.

Researchers at California Institute of Technology, in a similar PNAS study, also released online, discovered that increased level of similar molecules known as miRNA-125B in HSCs could cause leukemia in mice, the aggressive type.

“These molecules modify cellular numbers in ways that can be both beneficial and detrimental, so it will be important to understand the differences,” Scadden explains.

“We’re now looking at ways to expand the stem cell population – to briefly turn on the anti-cell-death protection – to overcome limited levels of stem cells that can restrict the use of stem cell transplantation for patients with blood system failure and blood-cell cancers. Accomplishing that could make life-saving stem cell transplants available to more patients,” he adds.

Scadden is the Gerald and Darlene Jordan Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

via New Advances In Cancer Treatment Revealed | News Fire.

“Dwarf’s (lung) standing on the shoulders of giant’s (heart)”

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on July 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm

“Dwarf’s (lung) standing on the shoulders of giant’s (heart)”

(Latin: nanos gigantium humeris insidentes) is a Western metaphor meaning “One who develops future intellectual pursuits by understanding the research and works created by notable thinkers of the past.

A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant


Lungssss, get yer lungs here!

Soon enough, organs grown from YOUR OWN stem cells will be available at a store near you.  What began as the outlandish quest of one woman in 1998…one woman who swam against a huge tidal flow of scientists and doctors telling her she was out of her mind…is now, almost 20 years later, hitting mainstream science, academia and media.

Who is this woman and what did she do?  You’ve probably never heard of her (unless you’ve read my book – “Super Stemmys) but she will most likely go down in history as the mother of 21st century patient specific organ regeneration. Organs, btw, that are both rejection free and require no immunosuppressive drugs. In other words…

YOUR OWN organs grown from YOUR OWN stem cells.”

Here’s how it all started…

1998 – Dr Doris Taylor takes stem cells from the thigh of a rabbit, injects them into scar tissue in the animal’s heart and repairs the damaged muscle.  Published in Nature Medicine.

2002 – Dr Taylor herself witnessed, in Rotterdam, the first patient in the world to get stem cells injected through a catheter into the wall of the heart. Encouraging results began to come in—improved ejection fractions, reduced diameters, thicker muscle tissue.

2005 – Advancements continue as 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.

Read it again! Doctor Doris Taylor grew a new heart in a lab 5 YEARS AGO!

So congrats to the docs at Harvard Medical School for growing a lung…just don’t forget that Dr Doris Taylor’s heart is the giant on whose shoulders your lung is standing. -dg


Stem cell scientists unveil lab-grown lung – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

By Kellie Lazzaro

Updated Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:04am AEST

Harvard doctors used stem cells to generate the organ. (Supplied: Harald C Ott)

A decellularized rat lung. Harvard doctors have used stem cells to generate the artificial organ

Artificial lung: a recellularized lung in a bioreactor during organ culture (Supplied: Harald C Ott)

Artificial lung: a recellularized lung in a bioreactor during organ culture (Supplied: Harald C Ott)

First breath: the recellularized rat lung takes in air at the end of the organ culture period (Supplied: Harald C Ott )

American researchers have provided some hope for the hundreds of Australians languishing on organ-transplant waiting lists.

Doctors at the Harvard Medical School have used stem cells to construct a miniature lung, which functioned for up to six hours when transplanted into a rat.

Lung transplant specialists say the research is a significant breakthrough in efforts to develop ways to expand the organ donor pool.

For the 50 million people worldwide with end-stage lung disease, the only definitive treatment is a transplant.

Kate Hayne, 66, waited four years for a double lung transplant after she was diagnosed with bronchiectasis.

“You’re waiting for the phone to ring and it doesn’t ring and you’re life is getting narrower and narrower because you can do less and less and less,” she said.

“You’re basically waiting to die … and a lot of people do die.

“I met some lovely people who didn’t survive the wait.”

It is hoped the research by the Harvard Medical School in Boston will go some way towards improving the chances of survival.

Dr Harald Ott and his team removed the cells from a rat lung and rebuilt the organ blueprint using human umbilical and foetal rat cells.

Within about a week that lung began exchanging oxygen like normal lungs and was transplanted into a rat where it continued functioning for six hours.

“There’s a lot of work to do in up scaling this now from rats to human-sized organs,” he said.

“But I think that we are looking at a situation where over the next five to 10 years we might be seeing more regenerated products to actually hit the patients’ side.”

Professor Allan Glanville, the medical head of lung transplantation at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital, says specialists in Australia are watching with interest.

“This is extraordinarily exciting work and it lays the groundwork for the beginning of the development of a inartificial lung that might benefit so many people,” he said.

Dr Michael Musk, who heads the West Australian Lung Transplant program, agrees the research is a huge step forward.

“It hopefully means we don’t need the degree or amount of immunosuppression required, which is associated with a lot of side effects,” he said.

“It would not only improve donor pool, but also improve the quality of life.”

The research is published today in the journal Nature Medicine (see Technical Report abstract below).

via Stem cell scientists unveil lab-grown lung – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Nature Medicine
Published online: 13 July 2010 | doi:10.1038/nm.2193

Regeneration and orthotopic transplantation of a bioartificial lung

Harald C Ott1, Ben Clippinger1, Claudius Conrad1, Christian Schuetz1, Irina Pomerantseva1, Laertis Ikonomou2, Darrell Kotton2 & Joseph P Vacanti1

About 2,000 patients now await a donor lung in the United States. Worldwide, 50 million individuals are living with end-stage lung disease. Creation of a bioartificial lung requires engineering of viable lung architecture enabling ventilation, perfusion and gas exchange. We decellularized lungs by detergent perfusion and yielded scaffolds with acellular vasculature, airways and alveoli. To regenerate gas exchange tissue, we seeded scaffolds with epithelial and endothelial cells. To establish function, we perfused and ventilated cell-seeded constructs in a bioreactor simulating the physiologic environment of developing lung. By day 5, constructs could be perfused with blood and ventilated using physiologic pressures, and they generated gas exchange comparable to that of isolated native lungs. To show in vivo function, we transplanted regenerated lungs into orthotopic position. After transplantation, constructs were perfused by the recipient’s circulation and ventilated by means of the recipient’s airway and respiratory muscles, and they provided gas exchange in vivo for up to 6 h after extubation.

To read this technical report in full you will need to login or make a payment at Nature Medicine.  – http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nm.2193.html

Korean University To Distribute Puppies Of World’s First Cloned Dog

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on September 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm

Korean University To Distribute Puppies Of World’s First Cloned Dog

Yes, we know, this is not the type of story we usually follow. The truth? It is apparently a first even if, in itself, the event does not advance the cause of stem cell research. Seoul National University (SNU) said the nine dogs were all fathered by Snuppy, an Afghan Hound cloned by disgraced scientist Hwang Woo-suk in 2005, who, as it turns out, may have gotten some important things right without knowing it. According to a team led by George Daley at Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Hwang may have managed to create stem cells solely from human eggs, without fertilization with sperm. This breakthrough is possibly much more valuable than his original false claims about his work.

“Unfortunately,” said Daley, “at the time they published their work they did not know what they had done so they had mistakenly isolated these parthenogenic embryonic stem cells and misrepresented them as true clones.” The Daley team concluded that it is possible Hwang and his team managed to pull off the world’s first human case of parthenogenesis, or ‘virgin birth’, a conclusion that would seem to suggest that even with good research it’s preferable to know the meaning of what has been accomplished.

via Stem Cell Research: Korean University To Distribute Puppies Of World’s First Cloned Dog.

Stem Cell Central | Genome Technology

In ALL ARTICLES on September 2, 2009 at 11:28 am

Stem Cell Central – September 2009 – By Meredith W. Salisbury

Advances in stem cell research have been coming fast and furious in recent years, and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute has been right in the middle of the fray. Founded by scientific co-directors David Scadden and Doug Melton just five years ago, the institute was conceived as “a convening force” that would “bring together people who work on different parts of the large portfolio of research in stem cell biology and stem cell ethics and other aspects,” Scadden says. A hematologist and oncologist by training, Scadden says his perspective at the time was informed by how clinically useful stem cells appeared to be, while Melton came from a developmental biology background and had an appreciation for what the research community could do…

via Stem Cell Central | Genome Technology | DxPGx | GenomeWeb.

The Harvard Crimson :: News :: Stem Cells To Get Federal Funding

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 9, 2009 at 3:10 am


Published On Monday, March 09, 2009 12:30 AM – By JUNE Q. WU – Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard stem cell researchers hailed President Obama’s reported intention to lift restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research today as a decision that will change the landscape of biomedical research.

(not for 10-50 years says the father of EMBRYONIC stem cell research, Dr Thomson. – dg)

The decision coincides with the recent passage of Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package, potentially making stem cell researchers nationwide eligible for some of the $10.4 billion earmarked for the National Institutes of Health, an unrivaled source of federal funding for biomedical research that gave Harvard researchers $351 million last fiscal year.

Until today, federal funding for embryonic research—which some criticize as unethical because it requires the destruction of embryos—had been constrained by a 2001 order from President Bush that limited funding to research using only the 21 cell lines existing at the time of his directive.

Critics of that restriction have long contended that embryonic stem cells—believed to be capable of morphing into any body tissue cells—

(this is no longer even an issue.  science is proving that adult stem cells and especially modified adult stem cells called induced pluripotent stem cells can become virtually any of the 220 cells in the human body – dg)

merit federal support because they could lead to new treatments for degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s.

(Parkinson’s is being treated successfully in countries outside of the US with adult stem cells – dg)

via The Harvard Crimson :: News :: Stem Cells To Get Federal Funding.

“Brain Death” Test Causes Brain Necrosis and Kills Patients: Neurologist to Rome Conference

In ALL ARTICLES on February 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm

A gruesome fairy tale…

You’ve been in a car accident and your family is rushing to your side from all over the country.  You’re on oxygen and you may be brain damaged and the question arises: is their blood circulating in your brain or are you brain dead?  Your organ donor card is in the hands of “”organ procurement agent” who is hovering impatiently.  What happens next?

The hospital shuts off your oxygen for 10 minutes to see if you can begin breathing on your own.  While they wait and watch, your brain cells start dying…first in small numbers and then in the millions as brain necrosis (death) sets in.  After ten minutes of oxygen deprivation, your brain is pronounced officially dead and the organ procurement agent steps forward…

Does this sound like a gruesome fairy tale? It’s not.  This is the standard “apnoea test” based on the need to determine “brain death”, adopted world-wide and developed at Harvard University in 1968…and due to this test “The lives of thousands of human beings, including children, adolescents and young adults, are lost every year in each country” (Dr. Coimbra) – DG

Does this sound unbelievable? Read on…

brain“Brain Death” Test Causes Brain Necrosis and Kills Patients: Neurologist to Rome Conference

By Hilary White – Rome correspondent

ROME, February 25, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the medical world’s key diagnostic tools for determining “brain death” preliminary to organ retrieval, actually causes the severe brain damage it purports to determine, neurologist Dr. Cicero Coimbra told attendees at a conference held in Rome last week. With the so-called “apnoea test,” Coimbra said, brain damaged patients who might be recoverable are deprived of oxygen for up to ten minutes, rendering the injuries to the brain irreversible.

“Diagnostic protocols for brain death actually induce death in patients who could recover to normal life by receiving timely and scientifically based therapies,” Dr. Coimbra, head of the Neurology and Neurosurgery Department at the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, told the participants at the “Signs of Life” conference on “brain death.”

Addressing an assembly of about 170 physicians, philosophers, ethicists, lawyers, students, journalists, and clergy, including two Catholic cardinals, Dr. Coimbra said that it is the apnoea test, routinely applied to patients who have suffered acute brain injuries, that frequently causes “brain necrosis,” or permanent and irrecoverable brain damage that is accepted as “brain death”.

The test is applied in emergency rooms or ICUs, often with an “organ procurement agent” standing by to ask relatives for approval for organ retrieval. A patient who needs assistance breathing is removed from the ventilator for up to ten minutes, cutting off oxygen to the brain and slowing the heart rate. If the patient fails to begin breathing without assistance after this time, he is declared “brain dead” and his organs may be legally removed.

Since the world-wide adoption of the “brain death” criteria, developed at Harvard University in 1968, Dr. Coimbra said, “The lives of thousands of human beings, including children, adolescents and young adults, are lost every year in each country.”

via “Brain Death” Test Causes Brain Necrosis and Kills Patients: Neurologist to Rome Conference.

Stem cells, through a religious lens – The Harvard University Gazette

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 16, 2009 at 2:24 pm

March 22, 2007

Omar Sultan Haque, a Muslim theologian at Harvard Medical School, said that Islam’s views on the subject of fetal viability and ‘ensoulment’ are still evolving. -Staff photo Kris Snibbe/Harvard News Office

Stem cells, through a religious lens

By Alvin Powell – Harvard News Office

Representatives of three of the world’s major religions tangled over the beginnings of human life, the disposal of surplus embryos from in vitro fertilization clinics, and the conduct of embryonic stem cell research Wednesday (March 14) at Harvard Divinity School.

Panelists at the event, representing Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, each briefly presented their faith’s teachings about the beginnings of human life and then embarked on a lively discussion about embryonic stem cell research.

via Stem cells, through a religious lens – The Harvard University Gazette.

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