Posts Tagged ‘University of Sheffield’




Stem Cells Shown to Reverse Dementia

Mary Holler, age 80, of Marco Island, Florida is smiling again.  Mary was suffering from dementia and felt her ability to function on a daily basis was slipping away.  Now, after undergoing a successful stem cell treatment in early December 2012, Mary is more like her old self again. She no longer suffers the frustration and agitation of being told she had already asked that question several times. Peter Holler , age 82, had become very concerned that his wife of 60 years was slowly losing her memory. She had been on medications for memory loss for several years but the deterioration in her recall accelerated in the last six months.  It was not unusual for him to answer the same question 4 to 5 times over the course of a day.  He felt he was losing his wife right in front of his eyes.  Mary’s poor performance on an in-depth memory test revealed that she should be in an assisted living facility.  This frightened both the Hollers and their children.

Peter Holler sought out stem cell therapy. He felt it was his wife’s only option. Peter, no stranger to stem cells, had undergone a stem cell treatment for his failing heart in 2008. He had experienced great success. “Even my lung function improved dramatically,” he recalls.  So using the same group that he had trusted with his heart, he made arrangements to get the love of his life treated.

A track record of several successfully treated patients with dementia already existed.  So the doctors knew exactly what to do.  Heading the team is Dr. Hector Rosario , an interventional cardiologist and head of the stem cell program in the Dominican Republic.  Dr. Zannos Grekos, Chief Science Officer for Intercellular, was present as well. “It’s very exciting to be able to have such a positive impact on a disease process that otherwise has such a grim prognosis,” Grekos explained.

After an activation and concentration process, stem cells collected from Mary’s bone marrow were injected into her cerebral circulation. “Look at the difference,” Dr. Rosario exclaimed while pointing to the before and after pictures of the brain circulation. The increase in blood vessel flow was astonishing. Since only adult stem cells from the patient are used, the political, ethical and medical issues are avoided and there is no risk of rejection.

“We’re able to normalize a patient’s brain function testing in 6 months after the treatment,” said Grekos, commenting on the success rate of patients receiving adult stem cell therapy to reverse the effects of dementia.

Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with age and certain diseases. Some types of dementia are non-reversible (degenerative) but others have a vascular component, even Alzheimer’s.  These respond especially well to stem cell treatment.

Press Release: Intercellular Sciences, LLC – Mon, Jan 7, 2013 6:01 PM EST

New Biomaterial Gets ‘Sticky’ With Stem Cells

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS on January 5, 2013 at 9:47 am


Immunofluorescent images shows the foam (green), stem cells (red) and stem cell nuclei (blue) with the middle image showing optimal foam stickiness for stem cell growth. (Credit: Adam Engler, Department of Bioengineering, UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.)

New Biomaterial Gets ‘Sticky’ With Stem Cells

Dec. 10, 2012 — Just like the bones that hold up your body, your cells have their own scaffolding that holds them up. This scaffolding, known as the extracellular matrix, or ECM, not only props up cells but also provides attachment sites, or “sticky spots,” to which cells can bind, just as bones hold muscles in place.

A new study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego and the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom found these sticky spots are distributed randomly throughout the extracellular matrix in the body, an important discovery with implications for researchers trying to figure out how to grow stem cells in the lab in ways that most closely mimic biology. That’s because the synthetic materials scientists currently use to mimic ECM in the lab don’t have randomly distributed sticky spots, but instead are more uniformly sticky.

The study was published by Adam Engler, a bioengineering professor at UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering, and Giuseppe Battaglia, a professor of synthetic biology at the University of Sheffield in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). The group then mimicked this random stickiness in a foam biomaterial made out of polymers.

Battaglia and Engler explained that the foam uses two polymers, one that is sticky and one that is not, that separate from each other in solution. “It’s like what happens when you make balsamic vinaigrette and all the vinegar is randomly distributed in tiny bubbles throughout the oil,” said Engler. “We shook these two polymers up sufficiently to form randomly distributed nano-scopic patches of the sticky material amid the non-sticky material.”…

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121210124212.htm


In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on December 7, 2012 at 9:00 am

A team of engineers at the University of Sheffield have developed a new approach to treating humans who have sustained damage to the cornea.  The procedure entails grafting a biodegradeable disc, filled with stem cells, to the host’s cornea.  “The aim is to effect the natural repair of eyes damaged by accident or disease, enabling millions of people across the world to retain – or even regain – their sight.”



In research published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia, the team describes a new method for producing membranes to help in the grafting of stem cells onto the eye, mimicking structural features of the eye itself. The technology has been designed to treat damage to the cornea, the transparent layer on the front of the eye, which is one of the major causes of blindness in the world.

Using a combination of techniques known as microstereolithography and electrospinning, the researchers are able to make a disc of biodegradable material which can be fixed over the cornea. The disc is loaded with stem cells which then multiply, allowing the body to heal the eye naturally.

“The disc has an outer ring containing pockets into which stem cells taken from the patient’s healthy eye can be placed,” explains EPSRC Fellow, Dr Ílida Ortega Asencio, from Sheffield’s Faculty of Engineering. “The material across the centre of the disc is thinner than the ring, so it will biodegrade more quickly allowing the stem cells to proliferate across the surface of the eye to repair the cornea.”

A key feature of the disc is that it contains niches or pockets to house and protect the stem cells, mirroring niches found around the rim of a healthy cornea. Standard treatments for corneal blindness are corneal transplants or grafting stem cells onto the eye using donor human amniotic membrane as a temporary carrier to deliver these cells to the eye. For some patients, the treatment can fail after a few years as the repaired eyes do not retain these stem cells, which are required to carry out on-going repair of the cornea. Without this constant repair, thick white scar tissue forms across the cornea causing partial or complete sight loss. The researchers have designed the small pockets they have built into the membrane to help cells to group together and act as a useful reservoir of daughter cells so that a healthy population of stem cells can be retained in the eye.

“Laboratory tests have shown that the membranes will support cell growth, so the next stage is to trial this in patients in India, working with our colleagues in the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad,” says Professor Sheila MacNeil. “One advantage of our design is that we have made the disc from materials already in use as biodegradable sutures in the eye so we know they won’t cause a problem in the body. This means that, subject to the necessary safety studies and approval from Indian Regulatory Authorities, we should be able to move to early stage clinical trials fairly quickly.”

Treating corneal blindness is a particularly pressing problem in the developing world, where there are high instances of chemical or accidental damage to the eye but complex treatments such as transplants or amniotic membrane grafts are not available to a large part of the population.

The technique has relevance in more developed countries such as the UK and US as well, according to Dr Frederick Claeyssens. “The current treatments for corneal blindness use donor tissue to deliver the cultured cells which means that you need a tissue bank. But not everyone has access to banked tissues and it is impossible to completely eliminate all risks of disease transmission with living human tissue,” he says. “By using a synthetic material, it will eliminate some of the risk to patients and be readily available for all surgeons. We also believe that the overall treatment using these discs will not only be better than current treatments, it will be cheaper as well.”

The research is supported by a Welcome Trust Affordable Healthcare for India Award to the University of Sheffield and the LV Prasad Eye Institute, where the work is led by Associate Director and Head of Clinical Research, Dr Virender Sangwan. The work has also been supported through a Research Fellowship for Dr Ortega from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Photo provided by GovEd Communications


Embryonic stem cells restore hearing in deaf gerbils BUT…

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on September 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm
What sounds like great news may actually be barely worth mentioning.  Embryonic stem cells restored hearing in gerbils.  So, what are the problems??
  • Embryonic stem cell causes cysts, tumors and teratomas (monster tumors)
  • The cysts, tumors and teratomas may develop into cancer
  • The mice had to be put on immunosuppressive drugs to control the transplant rejection issues
  • The mice absorb the genetic anomalies of the donor cells
  • The mice may still experience rejection or GVHD
The good news is, the regrowth of the sense of hearing has been proven possible once again, as has been done with ADULT stem cell treatments which have none of the above limitations.   One more point…

  • The type of deafness treated in this study accounts for only 1% of deaf people (‘because the “exquisite architecture” of the inner ear can be damaged in many different ways, ”there won’t be one cure for hearing loss, there will be a variety of interventions tailored to unique conditions”’)
Let’s hope these variety of interventions include ADULT stem cells.  History of ADULT stem cells and deafness – https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/hearing-disorders/
Neurons derived from human embryonic stem cells have restored hearing to deaf gerbils.  The research offers hope to deaf people unable to be helped by current technology.

A cure for deafness caused by auditory neuropathy is one step closer, after a breakthrough in stem cell therapy by UK researchers. Published online before print in the 12 September online issue of the prestigious scientific journal Nature, researchers from the University of Sheffield describe how they successfully restored hearing to previously deaf gerbils using human embryonic stem cells.

Stem-cell biologist Marcelo Rivolta led the project, which brings hope to some of the 275 million people worldwide with moderate-to-profound hearing loss, many of whom have it as a result of a defect in the auditory nerve, also called the cochlear nerve or acoustic nerve, which causes a faulty link between the inner ear and the brain. This new discovery opens the doors to a possible new way of treating deafness in a group of people who are unable to be helped by existing technology and treatments.

“We have the proof of concept that we can use human embryonic stem cells to repair the damaged ear,” says lead author Marcelo Rivolta “More work needs to be done, but now we know it’s possible.”

The first stem cell-based treatments for hearing loss are likely to be at least 15 years away though. According to Stefan Heller, a stem-cell researcher at Stanford University in California who is also working on differentiating cells involved in hearing…

Human stem cells restore hearing in deaf gerbils – National health | Examiner.com.

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