March 7, 2014
Establishing standards where none exist: Researchers define ‘good’ stem cells
(Phys.org) – But what makes a “good” stem cell, one that can reliably be used in drug development, and for disease study? Researchers have made enormous strides in understanding the process of cellular reprogramming, and how and why stem cells commit to becoming various types of adult cells. But until now, there have been no standards, no criteria, by which to test these ubiquitous cells for their ability to faithfully adopt characteristics that make them suitable substitutes for patients for drug testing. And the need for such quality control standards becomes ever more critical as industry looks toward manufacturing products and treatments using stem cells.
March 6, 2014
New findings on neurogenesis in the spinal cord
(Medical News Today) – Research from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden suggests that the expression of the so called MYC gene is important and necessary for neurogenesis in the spinal cord. The findings are being published in the journal EMBO Reports. The MYC gene encodes the protein with the same name, and has an important role in many cellular processes such as proliferation, metabolism, cell death and the potential of differentiation from immature stem cells to different types of specialized cells. Importantly it is also one of the most frequently activated genes in human cancer.
Stem cells to treat lung disease in infants
(Asian Scientist) – A phase I clinical study conducted by researchers in Korea has found that it is safe and feasible to use stem cell therapies for preventing and treating lung disease in preterm infants. Advances in neonatal care for very preterm infants have greatly increased the chances of survival for these fragile infants. However, preterm infants have an increased risk of developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a serious lung disease, which is a major cause of death and lifelong complications.
March 4, 2014
Reconstructing faces using human stem cells from fat
(Medical News Today) - Researchers in London, UK, are investigating the effectiveness of stem cell therapies for facial reconstruction. A joint team, from London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and University College London’s Institute of Child Health, has published the findings of their research in the journal Nanomedicine. This follows the recent news that another UK-based team, of The London Chest Hospital, has begun the largest ever trial of adult stem cells in heart attack patients.
February 28, 2014
Clinical trial shows stem cell injections reduce low back pain (w/ video)
(Medical Xpress) – A single injection of stem cells into degenerative discs reduced low back pain for at least 12 months according to results of a 100-patient, phase II, international clinical trial that included researchers at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. W. Jeremy Beckworth, MD, assistant professor of Orthopaedics and Rehab Medicine, was part of the trial that used injections of bone marrow stem cells called mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs) to reduce pain. On average researchers found a pain reduction greater than 50 percent at 12 months.
February 26, 2014
More evidence for stem cell errors
(The Scientist) – An investigation by the University of Düsseldorf in Germany has found evidence of scientific misconduct related to research conducted there on stem cells used to heal damaged cardiac tissue. The conclusion follows a 2013 indictment by researchers at Imperial College London, alleging that dozens of papers by the leader of the studies, cardiologist Bodo-Eckehard Strauer, were plagued by contradictions, miscalculations, and duplications.
February 24, 2014
Nanotechnology to help healing hearts
(Phys.org) – Precision is also required in the large strategic research opening by Tekes which Franssila and his research group are participating in with the University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Central Hospital. The project has an ambitious goal: getting damaged organs to heal themselves. Achieving this goal requires drugs that are targeted at an organ, such as the heart or the brain, using nanotechnology. The drugs then locally enhance the differentiation of stem cells so that the necessary new heart or nerve cells are created.
Scientists transform skin cells into functioning liver cells
(Nanowerk) – The power of regenerative medicine now allows scientists to transform skin cells into cells that closely resemble heart cells, pancreas cells and even neurons. However, a method to generate cells that are fully mature—a crucial prerequisite for life-saving therapies—has proven far more difficult. But now, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), have made an important breakthrough: they have discovered a way to transform skin cells into mature, fully functioning liver cells that flourish on their own, even after being transplanted into laboratory animals modified to mimic liver failure.
New stem cell research may give the elderly rejuvenated muscles
(Tech Times) – Researchers have taken an old mouse whose heart has thickened and enlarged with age, circulated a newly discovered protein in its blood, and saw that the heart reverted back to a more youthful state. They now believe the same effect can be achieved with elderly humans, using a new process that rejuvenates older muscle stem cell populations so they function like younger cells.
Turn your body into a cartilage factory
(Wired) – Using scaffolds outside of the body to generate synthetic tracheas, cell-grown blood vessels and ears (kind of) is already an established practice in bioengineering research. But what happens once those scaffolds have been implanted? A team from Duke University is working on getting them to become fuel-generating systems that continually encourage stem cells to grow inside the body, to directly rebuild cartilage on site.
February 21, 2014
Researchers regenerate sound-sensing cells in the ears of mice with hearing damage
(Science Codex) – One of the major causes of hearing loss in mammals is damage to the sound-sensing hair cells in the inner ear. For years, scientists have thought that these cells are not replaced once they’re lost, but new research appearing online February 20 in the journal Stem Cell Reports reveals that supporting cells in the ear can turn into hair cells in newborn mice. If the findings can be applied to older animals, they may lead to ways to help stimulate cell replacement in adults and to the design of new treatment strategies for people suffering from deafness due to hair cell loss.
Researchers distinguish subcutaneous from visceral fat stem cells using specific cell markers
(Medical Xpress) – Scientists from A*STAR’s Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC) led in the discovery that two little-known fat cell markers have huge potential to assist researchers to further their understanding of fats. The discovery was recently published in prestigious science journal, Stem Cell Reports.
February 20, 2014
Stem cell banking from teeth gains acceptance
(Times of India) – People with poor health history or those suffering from genetic diseases are going to the dentists in greater numbers for stem cell banking from teeth. The major reason to adopt stem cell banking from teeth is that people feel it less painful and the safest of all methods. With stem cells creating the new milestones for a secure future all around the world, the technique of collecting stem cells from teeth is picking up in the city. As diabetes, kidney and liver diseases are very common among city residents, they don’t want their children to suffer from such diseases in the future.
Genetically altered stem cells generate engineered cartilage
(Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News) – Duke University researchers say they have moved a step closer to being able to generate replacement cartilage where it’s needed in the body by combining a synthetic scaffolding material withgene delivery methods. Initiating tissue repair with stem cells usually requires the use of large amounts of growth factors. Experience has demonstrated that this is expensive and can be challenging once the developing material is implanted within a body.
February 19, 2014
Oral, esophageal cancers a higher risk in post-allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation patients: study
(BioNews) – New research has recently revealed there could be higher risk associated with the development of secondary solid cancers, oral cancers and esophageal cancers after receiving a treatment called allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allogeneic HSCT). HSCT, which involves the transplantation of multi potent hematopoietic stem cells into recipients that are extracted from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood, is regarded as a dangerous and complicated treatment that is typically reserved for blood or bone cancer patients whose immune systems have been virtually eviscerated from cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.
Autologous stem cell tranplant in multiple sclerosis leads to extensive renewal of the T cell repertoire
(Medical News Today) – A new study describes the complexity of the new T cell repertoire following immune-depleting therapy to treat multiple sclerosis, improving our understanding of immune tolerance and clinical outcomes. n the Immune Tolerance Network’s (ITN) HALT-MS study, 24 patients with relapsing, remitting multiple sclerosis received high-dose immunosuppression followed by a transplant of their own stem cells, called an autologous stem cell transplant, to potentially reprogram the immune system so that it stops attacking the brain and spinal cord.
February 14, 2014
New stem cell method may eliminate need for blood donations to maintain platelet supply
(Medical Xpress) – Platelets, whose primary function is to prevent bleeding, are vital for treating various forms of trauma and blood diseases. However, they can only be obtained through blood donations at present. Researchers reporting online February 13 in the Cell Press journal Cell Stem Cell recently found a way to create platelets without the need for donated blood, an advance that could possibly erase supply shortages and ensure platelet treatments for all who need them.
Protein switch dictates cellular fate: Stem cell or neuron
(Medical Xpress) – Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that a well-known protein has a new function: It acts in a biological circuit to determine whether an immature neural cell remains in a stem-like state or proceeds to become a functional neuron. The findings, published in the February 13 online issue of Cell Reports, more fully illuminate a fundamental but still poorly understood cellular act – and may have significant implications for future development of new therapies for specific neurological disorders, including autism and schizophrenia.
February 13, 2014
Resiliance in parents of children undergoing stem cell transplant
(Medical Xpress) – A child’s illness can challenge a parent’s wellbeing. However, a study recently published in the journal Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation shows that in the case of a child’s stem cell transplant, parents feel increased distress at the time of the procedure, but eventually recover to normal levels of adjustment. “Across all study groups, what we basically showed is that parents are resilient. Overall, parents get better over time,” says Jennifer Lindwall, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the CU School of Medicine, teaching partner of the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
Stem cells from foreskin could be used to treat congenital muscular dystrophy
(Medical News Today) – Foreskin-derived stem cells have therapeutic potential for the currently untreatable condition congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD), according to a proof of concept study published in the journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy. CMD is a group of genetic conditions that usually presents at, or soon after, birth resulting in muscle weakness. There is currently no cure for these conditions, and treatment usually involves physical therapy, surgery and use of a wheelchair. Most affected patients can anticipate a prematurely shortened life span due to the onset of breathing problems and heart issues.
Cancer researchers discover pre-leukemic stem cell at root of AML, relapse
(Medical Xpress) – Cancer researchers led by stem cell scientist Dr. John Dick have discovered a pre-leukemic stem cell that may be the first step in initiating disease and also the culprit that evades therapy and triggers relapse in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The research, published online today in Nature is a significant leap in understanding the steps that a normal cell has to go through as it turns into AML, says Dr. Dick, and sets the stage to advance personalized cancer medicine by potentially identifying individuals who might benefit from targeting the pre-leukemic stem cell.