Posts Tagged ‘human’


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


“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…


In ALL ARTICLES, BUSINESS OF STEM CELLS on July 5, 2014 at 10:20 am
It May Take Guts to Cure Diabetes -Human GI Cells Retrained to Produce Insulin

Imagine taking cells from your gastrointestinal tract and then switching off one gene, the FOXO1 gene, and then ending up with insulin producing cells.  From gut cell to diabetes fighter in one easy gene switch-off.  Scientists did this successfully in 2012 in mice and recently in humans.  What does the FOXO1 say? ‘Here’s more insulin!’  Awesome.

The next step is where it gets…awkward.  I’d like this information to generate a gene therapy protocol or to improve success rates in stem cell/Diabetes treatment protocols,  etc.  But that’s not the way our system works.  The next step is to find a drug that inhibits the FOXO1 gene so it “…could retrain cells inside a person’s GI tract to produce insulin…”  Unfortunately, this drug will also have side effects as all drugs do which will create other symptoms requiring other drugs to mitigate.  And so it goes.

When will US Diabetes patients be able to benefit from a medical protocol based on this discovery?  An educated guess puts it at:
7-10 years for clinical trials and drug development for a name brand Pharma product and then 10-15 years for the drug patent to open up to an affordable generic.
Sorry Diabetes patients.

New York, NY (June 30, 2014) “By switching off a single gene, scientists at Columbia University’s Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center have converted human gastrointestinal cells into insulin-producing cells, demonstrating in principle that a drug could retrain cells inside a person’s GI tract to produce insulin…The Columbia researchers were able to teach human gut cells to make insulin in response to physiological circumstances by deactivating the cells’ FOXO1 gene.”

U.S. court rules against Obama’s stem cell policy | Reuters

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on August 23, 2010 at 9:50 pm

A U.S. court ruled in favor of a law suit filed in June against the National Institutes of Health by researchers.   The preliminary injunction on Monday stops federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research under the position that “human embryonic stem cell research involved the destruction of human embryos.”  Christian groups also opposed to embryo research argued the NIH policy violated U.S. law and took funds from researchers seeking to work with adult stem cells.

While this ruling is based on moral issues and not scientific issues, there is a preponderance of evidence that scientifically, embryonic stem cells for treatment may prove to be a dead end for at least 20-50 years and adult stem cells are already proven safe and effective for treating over 130+ diseases in humans.  For more information on why adult stem cells are scientifically better suited for treating humans than embryonic stem cells, read these articles:

U.S. court rules against Obama’s stem cell policy

A microscopic view shows smooth muscle cells derived from human  embryonic stem cells showing the nuclei (blue) and proteins of the  cytoskeleton (green) in this handout photo released to Reuters by the  California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, March 9, 2009.  REUTERS/Alexey Terskikh/Burnham Institute for Medical  Research/California Institute for Regenerative Medicine/Handout

WASHINGTON | Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:22pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. district court issued a preliminary injunction on Monday stopping federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, in a slap to the Obama administration’s new guidelines on the sensitive issue.

The court ruled in favor of a suit filed in June by researchers who said human embryonic stem cell research involved the destruction of human embryos.

Judge Royce Lamberth granted the injunction after finding the lawsuit would likely succeed because the guidelines violated law banning the use of federal funds to destroy human embryos.

“(Embryonic stem cell) research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed,” Lamberth wrote in a 15-page ruling. The Obama administration could appeal his decision or try to rewrite the guidelines to comply with U.S. law.

The suit against the National Institutes of Health, backed by some Christian groups opposed to embryo research, argued the NIH policy violated U.S. law and took funds from researchers seeking to work with adult stem cells.

The U.S. Department of Justice, White House and NIH had no immediate comment.

Key to the case is the so-called Dickey-Wicker Amendment, which Congress adds to budget legislation every year. It bans the use of federal funds to destroy human embryos.

That was not an issue for the NIH until the discovery of human embryonic stem cells in 1998. In 2001, then-President George W. Bush said he could only allow federal research money to pay for work done using a few batches, or lines, of the cells.

Many stem cell researchers objected, saying they could not do work needed to fulfill the promise of the powerful cells, which can give rise to all the tissues and cells in the human body. Privately funded researchers could do as they pleased, but federal funding is the cornerstone of such basic biological research.


As one of his first acts after taking office, Obama overturned that decision and the NIH set up a careful process for deciding which batches of human embryonic stem cells could be used by federally funded researchers.

The new guidelines do not allow the use of federal dollars to create the stem cells but do allow researchers to work with them if they are made by another lab.

Dr. James Sherley of Boston Biomedical Research Institute and Theresa Deisher of Washington-based AVM Biotechnology, who both work with adult stem cells, filed the original suit saying the guidelines would harm their work by increasing competition for limited federal funding. They both oppose the use of human embryonic stem cells.

Sherley was not immediately available for comment.

“There is no after-the-fact remedy for this injury because the Court cannot compensate plaintiffs for their lost opportunity to receive funds,” Lamberth wrote.

He found that the injunction would not seriously harm researchers who focus on human embryonic stem cells because it would preserve the status quo and not interfere with their ability to get private funding.

With the preliminary injunction in place, the two sides will likely present arguments and case history to the judge over whether the guidelines can be permanently blocked or be allowed to go into effect.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

via U.S. court rules against Obama’s stem cell policy | Reuters.

Stem-cell furore erupts : Nature News

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on June 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm

What are iPSc?  iPSc are INDUCED PLURIPOTENT STEM CELLS.  In short, a scientist takes a skin cell, typically from the foreskin or testes, and regresses or devolves them into an embryonic-like stem cell (sort of like a test tube version of Benjamin Button).

It was originally hoped that IPSc would hold great promise because they had all of the benefits of embryonic stem cells (read – Pluripotency: the ability to differentiate into any of the 320+ cells in the human body) and none of the drawbacks.  Here is what we know about Embryonic stem cells:

  1. Embryonic stem cells form Cysts/Tumors
  2. Embryonic stem cells are associated with tons of Controversy
  3. After 10 years, no treatments have been developed from embryonic stem cells
  4. Many of the foremost Embryonic stem cell scientists have abandoned embryonic research for adult stem cell and iPSc research

Now, here’s the kicker.  After 2 years, extensive research based on the originally ground breaking article and a huge media following (over 4,000,000 hits on google), it turns out that not only DO iPSc form cysts/tumors…but they also may NOT be pluripotent at all.

Why did it take so long?  “Skutella (the author of the original paper)  and his co-authors said that they wanted to share the cells but that the original agreement signed by tissue donors precluded distribution to third parties….even though Nature requires its authors to share all published research resources”

Regardless of how this turns out, I guess iPSc are like embryonic stem cells:

  1. iPSc form Cysts/Tumors (like embryonic stem cells)
  2. iPSc are NOW associated with tons of Controversy (like embryonic stem cells)
  3. After 2 years, no treatments have been developed from iPSc (like embryonic stem cells)

Is this a witch hunt on Skutella? Is this a fraud perpetrated by him? Is this just a misunderstanding?  It remains to be seen but as a pivitol paper that has launched (or may end) an entire field of research and commercial treatment potential, a certain degree of data transparency should be expected.

Since when does scientific research have more drama than Grey’s Anatomy? Keep your “Eyes on the Ball” guys, “Eyes on the Ball!”  -dg


Stem-cell furore erupts

Data analysis ignites public row.

Published online 29 June 2010 | Nature | doi:10.1038/466017a – Alison Abbott

Thomas Skutella.

Long-rumbling hostilities between stem-cell researchers in Germany exploded into a blazing public row last week, after Nature published a critical reanalysis of data from a high-profile 2008 article.

The researchers behind the original work1, led by Thomas Skutella of the University of Tübingen, reported using cells from adult human testes to create pluripotent stem cells with similar properties to embryonic stem cells.

Unlike other adult cells, these reproductive or ‘germline’ stem cells can be reprogrammed for pluripotency without the need to introduce additional genes, a step that often relies on a virus. That could make them safer for future use in medicine.

The paper made headlines because such pluripotent stem cells might be used instead of ethically sensitive human embryonic tissue. Soon after its publication, however, some stem-cell scientists said that the evidence for pluripotency was unconvincing. They also complained that Skutella would not distribute cells to other labs for verification, even though Nature requires its authors to share all published research resources.

Hans Schöler, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster and an author of last week’s critical comment2, says that he proclaimed Skutella’s achievement as a breakthrough when he first saw the data at a meeting, but became doubtful after seeing the published paper. “If this paper is wrong, then a lot of scientists are wasting time, energy and money in trying to follow up on it,” he says. Others fear that the episode is undermining the credibility of the field.

In response, Skutella last week asked the DFG, Germany’s main research-funding agency, to conduct an investigation both of his paper in Nature and of what he claims is a witch-hunt against him. Schöler, who also works with germline stem cells, says that he would welcome such a move.

Pluripotent cells should form teratomas (often cancerous cysts) — encapsulated tumours comprising different cell types — when injected under the skin of mice, and also exhibit a particular profile of gene expression. “The teratoma pictures in the Nature paper were not terribly convincing but that didn’t concern me too much at first,” says Schöler. “It was the failure to provide cells that started to concern me.” After more than a year of requests for access, he decided to reanalyse data in the paper in Nature showing which genes in the disputed cells were being expressed.

Together with bioinformaticians, he compared the genes’ expression profile with those of other cells in public databases and found that it overlapped with a type of connective-tissue cell called fibroblasts but not with pluripotent stem cells. Schöler suggests that fibroblasts may have contaminated Skutella’s samples. But Skutella and his colleagues deny3 mistaking fibroblasts for pluripotent cells. Skutella says that comparison of gene-expression data is meaningless “if the cells being compared were not processed identically”.

Takashi Shinohara at Kyoto University in Japan, whose team in 2004 generated the first pluripotent germline stem cells from mice, shares Schöler’s concerns about the expression data. He says that fibroblasts and pluripotent cells have different gene-expression profiles even if the cells are not processed in similar ways, and adds that it would be helpful to see Skutella’s cells.

In a corrigendum to his original paper in August 2009, Skutella and his co-authors said that they wanted to share the cells but that the original agreement signed by tissue donors precluded distribution to third parties. (Really???) Having gained broader consent from some donors, Skutella now promises to distribute the cells once they have been quality-checked. But stem-cell researcher Rudolf Jaenisch at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is not impressed: “It’s a big problem not providing the cells for what is nearly two years — whatever the excuses, this is bad.”

Ulrike Beisiegel, ombudsman for the DFG, says her office will decide “soon” whether to take up the investigations.

via Stem-cell furore erupts : Nature News.

Liposuction Fat Turns to Stem Cells Quicker Than Skin

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on September 7, 2009 at 5:37 pm

Liposuction Fat Turns to Stem Cells Quicker Than Skin in Study

By Rob Waters

Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) — Human fat, widely available and easily harvested with liposuction, morphed into stem cells more efficiently than skin cells in a study, giving scientists an alternative to the use of embryonic cells.

Three years ago, Shinya Yamanaka, of Kyoto University in Japan, showed that skin cells could be genetically manipulated to become any other cell type, much like embryonic stem cells. This process was hailed as avoiding the destruction of embryos and letting scientists create new therapies by making stem cells from patients who are ill.

Since then, researchers have sought to overcome two drawbacks to Yamanaka’s method. One is that the viruses and genes used to reprogram skin cells can trigger tumor growth. The second is that the process is inefficient, with less than 1 percent of skin cells becoming all-purpose cells. The new research, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may solve the second problem.

via Liposuction Fat Turns to Stem Cells Quicker Than Skin in Study – Bloomberg.com.

Takeover Talk Has Bulls Buying Human Genome – WSJ.com

In BUSINESS OF STEM CELLS on August 25, 2009 at 9:45 pm


Options traders rallied around pharmaceutical company Human Genome Sciences as talk of a possible buyout by GlaxoSmithKline made the rounds.

Traders flocked to bullish options in Human Genome, picking up 59,000 calls that allow them to buy the company’s stock and 19,000 puts that allow them to sell it, according to Track Data.

Traders showed particular interest in September $20 calls and September $25 calls, hoping that a deal for the Maryland-based company does in fact materialize and sometime before September options expire on Sept. 17.

Spokesmen for Human Genome and Glaxo said they don’t comment on market rumors.

As takeover talk made the rounds, the price of bullish options in Human Genome spiked higher. The price of the September $20 calls more than tripled, for example, rising to $1.85 from 60 cents.

At current prices, the call options make money if Human Genome’s stock climbs above $21.85. It closed the session at $19.21, hitting a high of $19.98.

The implied volatility on Human Genome’s options also increased, said Interactive Brokers senior market analyst Andrew Wilkinson. That suggests investors are preparing for the company’s stock to stage bigger swings.

There was also action in Osiris Therapeutics Inc., a stem-cell therapeutic company conducting clinical trials of Prochymal, a treatment for acute graft versus host disease.

Trading jumped to five times normal, with investors picking up 10,000 calls and 11,000 puts, and implied volatility on the options rose considerably higher. That suggests investors are bracing for the stock to become more volatile. Osiris closed the session at $14.15, up 16 cents, or 1.1%.

via Takeover Talk Has Bulls Buying Human Genome – WSJ.com.

News: Symphogen and Origen Ally to Produce Transgenic Chickens. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News – Biotechnology from Bench to Business

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
William Shakespeare, “Hamlet”, Act 1 scene 5

Transgenic chickens?

Symphogen and Origen Ally to Produce Transgenic Chickens

GEN News Highlights – Mar 6 2009, 10:51 AM EST

Symphogen and Origen Therapeutics are working together to develop transgenic chickens capable of producing human antibodies against infectious diseases, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

via News: Symphogen and Origen Ally to Produce Transgenic Chickens. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News – Biotechnology from Bench to Business.

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