Monday, 28 July 2014

NYSCF Scientists Generate iPSCs Lines from Patients with Multiple Sclerosis

Researchers at The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute are one step closer to creating a viable cell replacement therapy for multiple sclerosis from a patient's own cells.

For the first time, NYSCF scientists generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) lines from skin samples of patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis and further, they developed an accelerated protocol to induce these stem cells into becoming oligodendrocytes, the myelin-forming cells of the central nervous system implicated in multiple sclerosis and many other diseases.

Existing protocols for producing oligodendrocytes had taken almost half a year to produce, limiting the ability of researchers to conduct their research. This study has cut that time approximately in half, making the ability to utilize these cells in research much more feasible.

Researchers Develop iPSCs-Based Model for Insulin Resistance

C. Ronald Kahn
In 2012, Japanese biologist Shinya Yamanaka won a Nobel Prize for discovering the so-called induced pluripotent stem cells" (iPSCs), cells derived from normal adult cells that have the ability to differentiate into almost any other kind of cells. Now, researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center say they have created the first iPSCs line that offers a human model for insulin resistance, a key driver of type 2 diabetes.

"This is one of the very first studies of human iPSC models for type 2 diabetes, and it points out the power of this technology to look at the nature of diabetes, which is complex and may be different in different individuals." said C. Ronald Kahn, MD, Joslin's Chief Academic Officer and the Mary K. Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Until now, scientists examining the causes and effects of insulin resistance have struggled with a general lack of human cell lines from tissues such as muscle, fat and liver that respond significantly to insulin, Kahn says. Studying insulin resistance as it progresses through pre-clinical stages of type 2 diabetes has been particularly challenging.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Bioheart Treat Heart Failure Patient with World's First Combination Stem Cell Treatment

Bioheart stem cells
Bioheart, announced today that it has completed the world's first combination stem cell treatment with Magnum Cell Therapies (Magnum) in Honduras. A patient with congestive heart failure has been treated with a combination of AdipoCell™ or adipose derived stem cells and MyoCell® or muscle derived stem cells.

AdipoCell may help to promote angiogenesis or new blood vessel formation in ischemic tissue while MyoCell may help to promote myogenesis or new muscle formation. The cells were delivered directly into the damaged areas of the heart using the MyoCath® Catheter.

Researchers Develop Naive Human Embryonic Stem Cells without Using Reprogramming Factors

For a long time now, researchers and patients have hoped that embryonic stem cells (ESCs) -- capable of turning into any cell type of the body -- could provide insight into numerous diseases perhaps even be used to treat them. Yet progress has been hampered by the inability to transfer research and tools from mouse ESC studies to their human counterparts, in part because human ESCs are "primed" and slightly less plastic than the mouse cells.

Now Thorold Theunissen, Benjamin Powell, and Haoyi Wang, who are scientists in the lab of Whitehead Institute Founding Member Rudolf Jaenisch, have discovered how to manipulate and maintain human ESCs in a "naïve" or base pluripotent state similar to that of mouse ESCs without the use of any reprogramming factors. Their work is described in this week's issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Naïve mouse ESCs are well-studied, and scientists have a strong understanding of how they function and mature into more specialized cells. But this understanding is of limited use in human ESC research, as the human cells look different, grow differently, and rely on different genes than mouse ESCs. According to Theunissen, the disparities between mouse and human ESCs are attributable not to species-specific differences but rather to differences of cell state.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The New York Stem Cell Foundation Partners With Beyond Batten Disease Foundation to Fight Juvenile Batten Disease

The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) and Beyond Batten Disease Foundation (BBDF) have partnered to develop stem cell resources to investigate and explore new treatments and ultimately find a cure for juvenile Batten disease, a fatal illness affecting children.

NYSCF scientists will create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines from skin samples of young people affected by juvenile Batten disease as well as unaffected family members. IPS cell lines are produced by artificially “turning back the clock” on skin cells to a time when they were embryonic-like and capable of becoming any cell in the body.

Reprogramming juvenile Batten iPS cells to become brain and heart cells, will provide the infrastructure needed to investigate what is going wrong with the cells adversely affected by the disease.

Stem Cell Trial by StemGenex® Offers Hope to Parkinson's Patients

StemGenex®, the leading resource for adult adipose stem cell therapy in the US aimed at improving the lives of patients dealing with degenerative diseases today announced their newest clinical study for Parkinson’s disease.

 StemGenex believes that a commitment to the safety and efficacy of stem cell therapy are paramount when providing care to patients with degenerative diseases.

This clinical study makes stem cell therapy accessible to the millions of individuals currently living with Parkinson’s disease. The protocol used in these stem cell treatments is unique to StemGenex, having the possibility of being more effective than other stem cell treatments currently available.

StemGenex has developed a multiple administration protocol for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease which includes targeted methods of stem cell delivery. Among these methods is a novel approach for delivering stem cells past the blood brain barrier – an issue most stem cell treatments have been challenged by.

Novel Methods May Improve Stem Cell Survival after Transplantation into Damaged Tissues

BioResearch Open Access is published online
six times per year.
Stem cells are a very promising solution for treating damaged organs and tissues, but with current transplantation approaches stem cell survival is poor, greatly limiting their effectiveness.

New methods are being developed and tested to improve the survival and optimize their therapeutic function after transplantation, as described in a Review article in BioResearch Open Access, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

In the article 'Preconditioning Stem Cells for In Vivo Delivery,' Sébastien Sart, Ecole Polytechnique (Palaiseau, France) and Teng Ma and Yan Li, Florida State University (Tallahassee) examine the leading strategies for preconditioning stem cells prior to transplantation to prepare them for the environment often found in damaged tissue.

Preconditioning methods might include exposing stem cells to microenvironments characterized by reduced oxygen levels, heat shock, and oxidative stress, creating three-dimensional stem cell aggregates or microtissues, and using hydrogels in which to embed or encapsulate the cells.

ISCO Secures Approval for Core Technology Patents in Europe

International Stem Cell Corporation ( ISCO), a California-based biotechnology company developing novel stem cell based therapies and biomedical products, announced yesterday that it has received formal opinion from the Advocate General for the European Union Court of Justice (CJEU) in favor of the Company's pending core technology patents on parthenogenetic stem cells.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Celladon announces In-License of Stem Cell Factor Development Program

Celladon corporation logo
Celladon Corporation, a clinical-stage biotechnology company applying its leadership position in the field of gene therapy and calcium dysregulation today announced an exclusive, global license from Enterprise Partners Venture Capital for gene therapy applications of the membrane-bound form of the Stem Cell Factor gene (mSCF) for treatment of cardiac ischemia. Stem Cell Factor is a critical cytokine which contributes to cell migration, proliferation, and survival of cardiac stem cells.

Mesenchymal stem cells promote muscle repair and strengthening after resistance exercise

Professor Marni Boppart at University of Illinois
Professor Marni Boppart
New research in mice reveals that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) help rejuvenate skeletal muscle after resistance exercise. By injecting MSCs into mouse leg muscles prior to several bouts of eccentric exercise (similar to the lengthening contractions performed during resistance training in humans that result in mild muscle damage), researchers were able to increase the rate of repair and enhance the growth and strength of those muscles in the exercising mice.

The findings, appearing in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, may one day lead to new interventions to combat age-related declines in muscle structure and function, said University of Illinois kinesiology and community healthprofessor Marni Boppart, who led the research.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Role of Astroglia in Down's Syndrome Revealed Thanks to iPSCs

David Pleasure, Chen Chen, Wenbin Deng and Peng Jiang
(left to right)
Researchers from UC Davis School of Medicine and Shriners Hospitals for Children -- Northern California have identified a group of cells in the brain that they say plays an important role in the abnormal neuron development in Down syndrome.

After developing a new model for studying the syndrome using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells, the scientists also found that applying an inexpensive antibiotic to the cells appears to correct many abnormalities in the interaction between the cells and developing neurons.

The findings, which focused on support cells in the brain called astroglial cells, appeared in Nature Communications.

"We have developed a human cellular model for studying brain development in Down syndrome that allows us to carry out detailed physiological studies and screen possible new therapies. This model is more realistic than traditional animal models because it is derived from a patient's own cells." said Wenbin Deng, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine and principal investigator of the study.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Scientists discover gene that links stem cells, aging and cancer

Stem cells from adult mouse epidermis
(green, Cytokeratin 6; blue, cell nucleus);
Sox4 protein maintains tissue homeostasis in these cells.
An organism is healthy thanks to a good maintenance system: the normal functioning of organs and environmental exposure cause damage to tissues, which need to be continuously repaired.

This process is not yet well understood, but it is known that stem cells in the organs play a key role, and that when repair fails, the organism ages more quickly. Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have "discovered one of the key genes that make up the maintenance mechanism for tissues", said Miguel Foronda, the first author of the study.

The study is published this week in the journal Cell Reports. The authors believe that it adds another piece to the ageing, stem cells and cancer puzzle, made up of three main elements that are known to be related, but no one knows exactly how.

By understanding this relationship throughout identification key regulatory genes, we could have a different, perhaps more unified, vision of these three areas with enormous implications for health.

Discovery May Make It Easier to Develop Life-Saving Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Human oocyte
Human oocyte
Not unlike looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack, a team of Michigan State University researchers have found a gene that could be key to the development of induced pluripotent stem cells, cells that can potentially save millions of lives by morphing into practically any cell in the body.

The gene, known as ASF1A, was not discovered by the team. However, it is at least one of the genes responsible for the mechanism of cellular reprogramming, a phenomenon that can turn one cell type into another, which is key to the making of stem cells.

In a paper published in the journal Science, the researchers describe how they analyzed more than 5,000 genes from a human egg, or oocyte, before determining that the ASF1A, along with another gene known as OCT4 and a helper soluble molecule, were the ones responsible for the reprogramming.