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April 23, 2014

Reprogrammed Cells Kept Bug-Free by SIRT1

(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – Regenerative medicine—the promise of rejuvenating or replacing damaged or diseased tissues—will most likely rely on the use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which are obtained when adult cells are essentially thrown into evolutionary reverse. This abrupt change can be hard on cells, which may suffer chromosomal abnormalities and DNA damage. And so the bright vistas of regenerative medicine are shadowed by a stubborn cloud—the uncertainty thatstem cells that are derived from adult cells are really safe.

April 21, 2014

Researchers Discover New Marker Derived from Human Umbilical Cord Blood

(News-Medical) – The development of stem cell therapies to cure a variety of diseases depends on the  ability to characterize stem cell populations based on cell surface markers. Researchers from the Finnish Red Cross have discovered a new marker that is highly expressed in a type of stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood, which they describe in an article in BioResearch Open Access, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

April 14, 2014

Phase 1 Trial for ALS Results of Novel Stem-Cell Therapy Presented by Neuralstem Representative

(Bio News Texas) – Neuralstem, a company that specializes in producing commercial quantities of neural stem cells of the brain and spinal cord, publicly presented the findings of their Phase 1 clinical trial involving amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the Keystone Symposia “Engineering Cell Fate and Function,” occurring April 6-11 in Olympic Valley, California. Results were published in Annals of Neurology in mid-March, but principal investigator Eva Feldman, PhD, MD, discussed the results of Neuralstem’s NSI-566 stem cell trial in ALS during a workshop on “Clinical Progress for Stem Cell Therapies” at the symposia.

Stem Cells Seen as Promising in Lupus

(Med Page Today) – Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation is showing promise as a treatment for refractory systemic lupus erythematosus, researchers have reported. In a multicenter study conducted in China that included 40 patients who had persistent disease despite aggressive treatment with cyclophosphamide, mycophenolate mofetil, leflunomide, and/or high-dose steroids, 60% of those given umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells had a major or partial clinical response during a year of follow-up, according to Lingyun Sun, MD, of Nanjing University Medical School, and colleagues.

April 11, 2014

Researchers Identify Transcription Factors Distinguishing Glioblastoma Stem Cells

(Medical Xpress) – The activity of four transcription factors – proteins that regulate the expression of other genes – appears to distinguish the small proportion of glioblastoma cells responsible for the aggressiveness and treatment resistance of the deadly brain tumor. The findings by a team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators, which will be published in the April 24 issue of Cell and are receiving advance online release, support the importance of epigenetics – processes controlling whether or not genes are expressed – in cancer pathology and identify molecular circuits that may be targeted by new therapeutic approaches.

April 10, 2014

Bone Marrow Stem Cells Show Promise in Stroke Treatment

(Medical Xpress) – Stem cells culled from bone marrow may prove beneficial in stroke recovery, scientists at UC Irvine’s Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center have learned. In an analysis of published research, neurologist Dr. Steven Cramer and biomedical engineer Weian Zhao identified 46 studies that examined the use of mesenchymal stromal cells – a type of multipotent adult stem cells mostly processed from bone marrow – in animal models of stroke. They found MSCs to be significantly better than control therapy in 44 of the studies.

April 8, 2014

UK Scientists Make Body Parts in Lab

(Associated Press) – In a north London hospital, scientists are growing noses, ears and blood vessels in the laboratory in a bold attempt to make body parts using stem cells. It is among several labs around the world, including in the U.S., that are working on the futuristic idea of growing custom-made organs in the lab. While only a handful of patients have received the British lab-made organs so far- including tear ducts, blood vessels and windpipes – researchers hope they will soon be able to transplant more types of body parts into patients, including what would be the world’s first nose made partly from stem cells.

Scientists Progress in Quest to Grow Muscle Tissues in Labs

(The Wall Street Journal) – Duke University researchers and other scientists are making strides in growing muscle in the lab that not only repairs itself but exhibits strength similar to that of normal muscle. Using lab-grown muscle could one day help people with certain muscle injuries, including accident victims with big gashes that lead to significant scar tissue. Engineering muscle that works like natural tissue could also accelerate the testing of new drugs: Scientists could use this tissue in place of animals.

April 7, 2014

Additional Factors Improve Stem Cell Generation

(Nanowerk) – Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are created by ‘reprogramming’ specialized adult cells into embryonic stem-like cells. Although a remarkable process, the procedure remains slow and inefficient, involving induced expression of four specific protein factors found at high levels in embryonic stem cells. By adding two further proteins found in unfertilized egg cells, or oocytes, to this standard recipe of reprogramming factors, a collaborative team of researchers led by Shunsuke Ishii and colleagues from the Molecular Genetics Laboratory at the RIKEN Tsukuba Institute have now discovered a way to generate iPS cells with increased speed and efficiency.

Stem Cell Injections Revive Failing Heart

(Med Page Today) – Patients with severe ischemic heart failure had improvements in heart function following injection of mesenchymal stem cells directly into the left ventricle, a small, phase II trial showed. Within 6 months, multiple measures improved with injections of stem cells versus placebo, including end-systolic volume, left ventricular ejection fraction, stroke volume, and myocardial mass (P<0.05 for all), according to Anders Bruun Mathiasen, MD, of Rigshospitalet-Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark.

April 1, 2014

Scientists Grow Self-Healing Muscles which Could Replace Real Ones

(The Telegraph) – Scientists have created living muscles which can heal themselves in an animal for the first time. They hope that the lab-grown muscle is an important step towards using it to treat injury damage in humans. Engineers measured its strength by stimulating it with electric pulses, which showed that it was more than 10 times stronger than any previous engineered muscles.

Ancient Virus DNA Gives Stem Cells the Power to Transform

(National Geographic) – A virus that invaded the genomes of humanity’s ancestors millions of years ago now plays a critical role in the embryonic stem cells from which all cells in the human body derive, new research shows. The discovery sheds light on the role viruses play in human evolution and could help scientists better understand how to use stem cells in advanced therapies or even how to convert normal cells into stem cells.

March 31, 2014

Major Breakthrough in Stem Cell Manufacturing Technology

( – Now a multi-disciplinary team of researchers at Nottingham has created a new stem cell micro-environment which they have found has allowed both the self-renewal of cells and then their evolution into cardiomyocyte (heart) cells. The material is a hydrogel containing two polymers—an alginate-rich environment which allows proliferation of cells with a simple chemical switch to render the environment collagen-rich when the cell population is large enough. This change triggers the next stage of cell growth when cells develop a specific purpose.

March 28, 2014

Stem Cell Trials on Tackling Osteoarthritis May Lead to Treatment in Five Years

(The Irish Times) – Researchers in Galway predict that stem cells could be used to treat osteoarthritis within five years, following successful initial clinical trials. The trials involve injecting adult stem cells derived from adipose tissue or fat into cartilage to stimulate its regeneration. Osteoarthritis affects some 70 million people across the EU, and current treatment is limited to surgery or pain management.

March 27, 2014

Leading Surgeons Warn against Media Hype about Tracheal Regeneration

(Medical News Today) – Reports of the two earliest tissue-engineered whole organ transplants using a windpipe, or trachea, created using the patient’s own stem cells, were hailed as a breakthrough for regenerative medicine and widely publicized in the press. However, two leading transplant surgeons in Belgium warn of the dangers of media attention, and urge that tracheal bioengineering be demonstrated as both effective and safe before further transplants take place.

First Stem Cell Study of Bipolar Disorder Yields Promising Results

(Medical Xpress) – The team used skin from people with bipolar disorder to derive the first-ever stem cell lines specific to the condition. In a new paper in Translational Psychiatry, they report how they transformed the stem cells into neurons, similar to those found in the brain – and compared them to cells derived from people without bipolar disorder.

Stem Cells from the Body’s Fatty Folds May Preserve and Improve Kidney Function

(Medical News Today) – A fatty fold of tissue within the abdomen that is a rich source of stem cells can help heal diseased kidneys when fused to the organs, according to a study conducted in rats. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN) suggest that stem cells from within a chronic kidney disease patient’s own abdomen could be used to preserve and possibly improve kidney function.

March 26, 2014

Stem Cell Findings May Offer Answers for Some Bladder Defects and Diseases

(Medical Xpress) – For the first time, scientists have succeeded in coaxing laboratory cultures of human stem cells to develop into the specialized, unique cells needed to repair a patient’s defective or diseased bladder. The breakthrough, developed at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures and published today in the scientific journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, is significant because it provides a pathway to regenerate replacement bladder tissue for patients whose bladders are too small or do not function properly, such as children with spina bifida and adults with spinal cord injuries or bladder cancer.

March 21, 2014

Proteins that Control Energy Use Necessary to Form Stem Cells

( – Two proteins that control how cells metabolize glucose play a key role in the formation of human stem cells, UW researchers report. The findings advance scientists’ understanding of stem cell development but also suggest that the proteins, which also play a role in the process that transforms normal cells into cancer stem cells, might also be targets for new cancer therapies, the researchers write.

Scientists Create Stem Cells from a Drop of Blood from a Finger Prick

(Nanowerk) – Scientists at A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from a single drop of finger-pricked blood (“Human Finger-Prick Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Facilitate the Development of Stem Cell Banking”). The method also enables donors to collect their own blood samples, which they can then send to a laboratory for further processing. The easy access to blood samples using the new technique could potentially boost the recruitment of greater numbers and diversities of donors, and could lead to the establishment of large-scale hiPSC banks.

Study Finds Stem Cell Combination Therapy Improves Traumatic Brain Injury Outcomes

(Medical Xpress) – In their study of several different therapies—alone and in combination—applied to laboratory rats modeled with TBI [traumatic brain injury], USF researchers found that a combination of human umbilical cord blood cells (hUBCs) and granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), a growth factor, was more therapeutic than either administered alone, or each with saline, or saline alone.


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