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Posts Tagged ‘Neurological Disorders’

Parkinson’s patients fund their own stem cell research

In BUSINESS OF STEM CELLS, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on March 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

parkinsons

Healing Parkinson’s patients with their own stem cells

Up to 1 million Americans have Parkinson’s, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Because aging is the chief risk factor for the disease, the patient population is expected to increase as the baby boom generation gets older.  Parkinson’s selectively kills brain cells that make the neurotransmitter dopamine, which enables movement. No one knows how it happens, or how to stop it. Researchers expect that transplanted dopamine-producing brain cells will eventually die, but perhaps not for 10 to 15 years.

The most visible symptoms of Parkinson’s include tremors, slowed movement, stooped posture and loss of balance, and trouble speaking. People sometimes walk with a shuffling gait, and they may experience severe and chronic pain. Patients’ faces can assume a mask-like expression.  Drugs that provide dopamine or mimic its effects can partially relieve the symptoms, but they produce side effects such as uncontrolled movement. Also, their effectiveness decreases over time.

A groundbreaking stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s disease is getting close to moving from lab research in La Jolla to therapy for patients. The research, funded by the patients and their supporters, could also pioneer a new model for moving medical advances from the lab into the clinic.

Eight Parkinson’s patients have allied with scientists from The Scripps Research Institute and medical professionals from Scripps Clinic for the project, which involves creating new brain cells from other cells in their own bodies. Because of the unusual, personalized nature of the research, the patients are participating with scientists and doctors as equals, meeting regularly to review the progress.

The ambitious goal is to relieve the movement difficulties Parkinson’s causes by replacing the brain cells the disease destroys. In theory, it would restore near-normal movement for a decade or more, and the procedure could be repeated as needed.

Research is far enough along that scientists and health care professionals in the project are talking to regulators about beginning clinical trials, perhaps as soon as next year.

The replacement brain cells are now being grown in a lab at The Scripps Research Institute. Patches of skin the diameter of a pencil eraser were removed from the patients’ arms and turned into a new kind of stem cell that acts like embryonic stem cells. Called induced pluripotent stem cells, they were discovered in 2006, a feat honored by a Nobel Prize last year.

These IPS cells can become nearly any kind of cell in the body… Another potential advantage of IPS cells over embryonic stem cells is that they should be less prone to rejection by the patients’ immune systems, because the transplanted cells come from the individuals themselves.

Patient Cassandra Peters, 57, learned of the reality of Parkinson’s and the hope of a new treatment in a visit with Dr. Houser, her neurologist.  “Interestingly, when I first had a conversation with her, when she definitively told me I had Parkinson’s, she said to me, quote, “You will have a stem cell procedure in your lifetime.”  I took that ball and held it in my heart, thinking, this is going to be my ‘get out of jail free’ card.  Not a day goes by when I don’t have an opportunity to share what I’m going through now and what the future might hold,” Peters said.

Ileana Slavin, a research associate in the lab of Jeanne Loring, and Suzanne Peterson, a staff scientist, discuss what it means for scientists to directly meet the people they’re trying to help.  Diabetes researcher Matthias von Herrath of the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology said the work could help scientists developing stem cell therapies for diabetics,” von Herrath said. “And that’s going to open the door for these type of stem cells.”

Loring’s researchers are reaching the final stages of their part of the project. They have made induced pluripotent stem cells from all eight patients, and have turned those into the needed brain cells for two of them. The work continues for the other six.

Parkinson’s represents the “low-hanging fruit” of neurological diseases for stem cell therapy.  We know what cell types are lost in Parkinson’s disease,” Bratt-Leal said in a March 8 meeting of the group. “We can make them from stem cells.  And now we can make stem cells from adult tissues.  The next logical step is to make these cells from people and put them back into them.”

“With IPS cells grown from the patient, rejection should be less of a worry”, Bratt-Leal said.

Now that the research side of the project has overcome its greatest hurdles, the focus is shifting to medicine, Loring said. The replacement brain cells will be grown in a clinical grade facility at the City of Hope in Los Angeles.  As part of the transition to the medical side, Houser will provide expertise in setting up the clinical trial, assuming approval is granted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Beyond the potential benefit to the eight patients, the project may provide an answer to what Loring and other researchers call the “Valley of Death,” the period that halts promising research before it can become a medical treatment.  Most scientific research is federally funded, but commercialization is left to the private sector. If companies don’t see a way to make money, they won’t pursue a therapy, even if it works.  This problem is especially forbidding for treatments customized to individual patients. These don’t produce economies of scale, and hence are not attractive to pharmaceutical companies.  Advocates of the customized Parkinson’s therapy said it will pay off in the long run. Patients will require less medical care, and find it easier to maintain their jobs.

To Read Full Article click HERE.

ALS TREATMENT THROUGH STEM CELLS

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS - 101, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on January 8, 2013 at 9:00 am

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Stem Cells Treat Lou Gehrig’s Disease, In Mice

“… just to see what stem cells would do in the nervous system of a mouse who had a model of this disease, in other words, was very rapidly and very progressively losing all muscular activity, including respiration. What we found – and this was a surprise at the time – in the early days, we thought, well, stem cells should simply replace these dying motor neurons. What, in fact, we found is – and this reflected a growing sophistication of our knowledge about stem cells as well as a growing sophistication about our knowledge about ALS – that the stem cells did make a difference in these animals. It slowed the onset of the disease, its progression and prolonged survival fairly significantly. But it did it by protecting the neurons of this animal and also kind of counteracting many of the other disease processes that we started learning were going on in this disease.”

http://www.npr.org/2012/12/21/167798232/stem-cells-treat-lou-gehrigs-disease-in-mice

“Injecting stem cells into the brains of mice that recently suffered a stroke can reduce nerve cell (neuron) damage by up to 60 percent, according to new research.  But the stem cells do not simply replace damaged tissue as previously believed. Instead, the immature cells trigger adult brain cells to switch gears and block a stroke-induced immune response that causes nerve damage.”

– Taken from 2008 article:  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can-stem-cells-block-stroke-damage

 

For all related  articles on (ALS) and the history of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease). Click HERE.

STEM CELLS PROTECT BRAIN AFTER TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY

In SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on November 25, 2012 at 8:49 am

B0001870 Compromised blood brain barrier

Researchers have found new evidence supporting the benefits of using Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for treatment of traumatic brain injury.  MSCs have the ability to stop inflammation and unwanted immune responses, through the production of metalloproteinase-3, which is essential in the recovery of the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB).  This discovery can change the way doctors treat traumatic brain injury and can foster the creation of a new, non-evasive technique, which utilizes the patient’s stem cells. – DG

Mesenchymal stem cells MSCs are found in multiple tissues and locations throughout our bodies, and they have the ability to differentiate into bone, fat, cartilage, and smooth muscle. MSCs also have the ability to suppress unwanted immune responses and inflammation. Therefore, MSCs are prime candidates for regenerative medical treatments. 

MSCs have been used to experimentally treat traumatic brain injury for example, Galindo LT et al., Neurol Res Int 2011;2011:564089. One of the main concerns after traumatic brain injury is damage to the (blood brain barrier) BBB. BBB damage allows inflammatory cells to access the brain and further damage it. Therefore, healing the damage to the BBB or protecting the BBB after a traumatic brain injury is vital to the brain after a traumatic brain injury. 

After a traumatic brain injury, the vascular system suffers damage and begins to leak. When blood leaks into tissues, it tends to irritate the tissues and damage them. MSCs release a soluble factor known as TIMP3 tissue metalloproteinase-3 that degrades blood-based proteins known to cause damage to tissues when blood vessels leak. TIMP3 production by MSCs can also protect the BBB from degradation after a traumatic brain injury.

Researchers from the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, UC San Francisco, and two biotechnology companies have examined the protective role of MSCs and one particular protein secreted by MSCs in protecting the BBB after traumatic brain injury.  Shibani Pati, from UC San Francisco, and his collaborators from the University of Texas, Houston, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Amgen, and Blood Systems Research Institute San Francisco used MSCs to staunch the increased permeability the BBB after a traumatic brain injury.  They used a mouse model in these experiments and induced traumatic brain injuries in these mice. Then they gave MSCs to some, and soluble TIMP3 to others, and buffer to another group as a control. They discovered that the MSCs mitigated BBB damage after a traumatic brain injury. However, they also found that soluble TIMP3 could also protect the BBB approximately as well as MSCs. This suggested that the TIMP3 secretion by MSCs is the main mechanism by which MSCs protect the BBB after a traumatic brain injury.

To test this hypothesis, Pati and his colleagues administered MSCs to mice that had experienced traumatic brain injury, but they also co-administered a soluble inhibitor to TIMP3. They discovered that this inhibitor completely abolished the ability of MSCs to protect the BBB after a traumatic brain injury. They also found that the main target of TIMP3 was vascular endothelial growth factor. Apparently after a traumatic brain injury, massive release of vascular endothelial growth factor causes the breakdown of BBB structures. TIMP3 degrades vascular endothelial growth factor, which prevents BBB breakdown.

These findings suggest that administration of recombinant proteins such as TIMP3 after a traumatic brain injury can protect the BBB and decrease brain damage. Clinical trial anyone?

via TIMP3 Secreted by Mesenchymal Stem Cells Protects the Blood Brain Barrier After a Traumatic Brain Injury | Beyond the Dish.

Recovery From Multiple Sclerosis By Growth Factor In Stem Cells

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on June 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

https://i1.wp.com/static.ddmcdn.com/gif/multiple-sclerosis-demyelinization.gif

Recovery From Multiple Sclerosis By Growth Factor In Stem Cells
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245816.php

Multiple Sclerosis and stem cells – need more info?
https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/multiple-sclerosis-and-stem-cells-need-more-info/

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