Thursday, 24 April 2014

Autologous stem cell therapy improves motor function in stroke victims

stroke ct scan
CT scan slice of the brain showing
a right-hemispheric ischemic stroke.
People who have had a stroke, often suffer motor deficits with little potential to restore neurological function. However, a new study conducted in Taiwan, has found that when one group of stroke victims had their own peripheral blood stem cells (PBSCs) injected directly into the brain and a similar group did not, those who received the PBSCs experienced some "improvement in stroke scales and functional outcome." 

Those in the PBSC-injected group also received injections of the growth factor granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF), known to be potentially neuroprotective.

"In this phase 2 study, we provide the first evidence that intracerebral injection of autologous (self-donated) PBSCs can improve motor function in those who have suffered a stroke and have motor deficits as a result. Our study demonstrated that this therapeutic strategy was feasible and safe in stroke patients who suffered a prior stroke, but within five years from the onset of symptoms." said corresponding author, Dr. Woei-Cheng Shyu of the Center for Neuropsychiatry, Graduate Institute of Immunology and Translational Medicine Research Center, China Medical University in Taiwan.

Stem cells in circulating blood affect cardiovascular health

Heart diagram
Heart Diagram
A new study suggests that attempts to isolate an elusive adult stem cell from blood to understand and potentially improve cardiovascular health – a task considered possible but very difficult – might not be necessary.

Instead, scientists have found that multiple types of cells with primitive characteristics circulating in the blood appear to provide the same benefits expected from a stem cell, including the endothelial progenitor cell that is the subject of hot pursuit.

"There are people who still dream that the prototypical progenitors for several components of the cardiovascular tree will be found and isolated. I decided to focus the analysis on the whole nonpurified cell population – the blood as it is. Our method determines the contributions of all blood cells that serve the same function that an endothelial progenitor cell is supposed to. We can detect the presence of those cells and their signatures in a clinical sample without the need to isolate them." said Nicanor Moldovan, senior author of the study and a research associate professor of cardiovascular medicine at The Ohio State University.

Study finds long-term survival of human neural stem cells transplanted into primates

A team of researchers in Korea who transplanted human neural stem cells (hNSCs) into the brains of nonhuman primates and assessed cell survival and differentiation after 22 and 24 months found that the hNSCs had differentiated into neurons at 24 months and did not cause tumors.

The hNSCs were labeled with magnetic nanoparticles to enable them to be followed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). They did not use immunosuppressants. According to the researchers, their study is the first to evaluate and show the long-term survival and differentiation of hNSCs without the need for immunosuppression.

The researchers concluded that hNSCs could be of "great value" as a source for cell replacement and gene transfer for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinal cord injury and stroke.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

BHSC receives Wright State University IRB approval for retrospective chart review

Blue horizon stem cells logo
Blue Horizon Stem Cells (BHSC), a division of Blue Horizon International, in cooperation with Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine (WSU BSOM), recently received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for a retrospective study entitled Spinal Cord Injury Stem Cell Therapy. The study has been determined to meet Federal exemption criteria 45 CFR 46.101 (b).

The approval enables the study team to complete a retrospective chart review of data collected from June to September 2013.

A total of 60 spinal cord injury patients are the subject of this initial retrospective review. Thirty of those patients received three stem cell transplants via intrathecal injection and intravenous infusion with one week intervals with a total of 16 days of treatment. The other 30 received only traditional medicine to treat and manage their spinal cord injury and related symptoms.

ISCO to provide up date on Its Parkinson's Disease Program at the 66th American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting

International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO) just announced that Dr. Ruslan Semechkin, ISCO's Chief Scientific Officer, will present data from its pre-clinical primate studies of Parkinson's disease (PD) at the 66th American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.

Date and time: Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 1:00 p.m. ET
Topic: Movement Disorders
Session title: Parkinson's Disease: Preclinical and Clinical Therapeutics

Monday, 21 April 2014

SIRT1 protein equired for integrity of induced pluripotent stem cells

SIRT1 protein equired for integrity of induced pluripotent stem cells
This image shows chromosome abnormalities in reprogrammed
cells in which SIRT1 protein has been removed (in red).
Credit: Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncologicas
Cell reprogramming converts specialised cells such as nerve cells or skin cells towards an embryonic stem cell state. This reversal in the evolutionary development of cells also requires a reversal in the biology of telomeres, the structures that protect the ends of chromosomes; whilst under normal conditions telomeres shorten over time, during cell reprogramming they follow the opposite strategy and increase in length.

A study published today in the journal Stem Cell Reports, from the Cell Publishing Group, reveals that the SIRT1 protein is needed to lengthen and maintain telomeres during cell reprogramming. SIRT1 also guarantees the integrity of the genome of stem cells that come out of the cell reprogramming process; these cells are known as iPS cells (induced Pluripotent Stem cells).

The study has been carried out by the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre's Telomeres and Telomerase Group, in collaboration with the CNIO's Transgenic Mice Core Unit.

Developing bulletproof vests using stem cells?

Stem cells demonstrate a bizarre property never before seen at a cellular level, according to a new study published today by researchers at the University of Cambridge. The property -- known as auxeticity -- is one which may have application as wide-ranging as soundproofing, super-absorbent sponges and bulletproof vests.

Most materials when stretched will contract. For example, if one pulls on an elastic band, the elastic itself will get thinner. The opposite is also true: squeeze a material and it will expand -- for example, if one squeezes a tennis ball between both hands, the circumference around the ball gets larger. However, material scientists have begun to explore auxeticity, an unusual property which has the opposite effect -- squeeze it and it will contract, stretch it and it will expand. This means that auxetic materials act as excellent shock absorbers or sponges, a fact that is being explored for various uses.

Researchers pinpoint the role of cancer stem cells in drug resistance

Credit: UC San Diego School of Medicine
Most drugs used to treat lung, breast and pancreatic cancers also promote drug-resistance and ultimately spur tumor growth. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have discovered a molecule, or biomarker, called CD61 on the surface of drug-resistant tumors that appears responsible for inducing tumor metastasis by enhancing the stem cell-like properties of cancer cells.

The findings, published in the April 20, 2014 online issue of Nature Cell Biology, may point to new therapeutic opportunities for reversing drug resistance in a range of cancers, including those in the lung, pancreas and breast.

“There are a number of drugs that patients respond to during their initial cancer treatment, but relapse occurs when cancer cells become drug-resistant. We looked at the cells before and after they became resistant and asked, ‘What has changed in the cells?” said David Cheresh, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Pathology and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center associate director for Innovation and Industry Alliances.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Research on flies suggests that lost stem cells are naturally replaced by non-stem cells

Erika Matunis
Erika Matunis
Credit
Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered an unexpected phenomenon in the organs that produce sperm in fruit flies, when a certain kind of stem cell is killed off experimentally, another group of non-stem cells can come out of retirement to replace them.

The discovery sheds light on the tiny "environments" that stem cells occupy in animal bodies and may help explain how stem cells in tumors replenish themselves, the researchers report in the May 8 issue of the journal Cell Reports. Damage of the kind duplicated in the laboratory occurs naturally after exposure to radiation and perhaps also after ingestion of toxic chemicals such as those used in chemotherapy.

The research group, led by Erika Matunis, Ph.D., a professor of cell biology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has been using the fruit fly as a model living system in which to study stem cells in their natural state. Most stem cell research is done on cells grown in the laboratory, but in real life, stem cells reside in tissues, where they are sequestered in tiny spaces known as niches. Adult stem cells keep dividing throughout life to make various kinds of cells, like new blood cells and germ cells.

Mesenchymal stem cells require hydrogen sulfide to function properly

Professor Songtao Shi
Professor Songtao Shi
Mesenchymal stem cells need to produce hydrogen sulfide in order to properly multiply and form bone tissue, according to a new study from the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology at the Ostrow School of Dentistry.

Professor Songtao Shi, principal investigator on the project, said the presence of hydrogen sulfide produced by the cells governs the flow of calcium ions. The essential ions activate a chain of cellular signals that results in osteogenesis, or the creation of new bone tissue, and keeps the breakdown of old bone tissue at a proper level.

Conversely, having a hydrogen sulfide deficiency disrupted bone homeostasis and resulted in a condition similar to osteoporosis -- weakened, brittle bones -- in experimental mice. In humans, osteoporosis can cause serious problems such as bone fractures, mobility limitations and spinal problems; more than 52 million Americans have or are at risk for the disease.

Neuralstem stem cell therapy for spinal cord injuries approved to begin at University Of California

Neuralstem Logo
Neuralstem announced yesterday that the Institutional Review Board of the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine has approved the Phase I safety trial to treat chronic spinal cord injury (cSCI) with its NSI-566 neural stem cells.

The NSI-566/cSCI Phase I trial will enroll patients with thoracic spinal cord injuries (T2-T12) who have an American Spinal Injury Association (AIS) A level of impairment, between one and two years after injury. AIS A impairment, which is complete paralysis, refers to a patient with no motor or sensory function in the relevant segments at and below the injury.

The trial, which already has FDA approval, and has a one-year completion goal, will be under the direction of principal investigator (PI) Joseph Ciacci, MD, UC San Diego School of Medicine and neurosurgeon at UC San Diego Health System. Much of the pre-clinical work with the NSI-566 cells in spinal cord injury was conducted at UC San Diego School of Medicine by Martin Marsala, MD, professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, who will be another study investigator.

Modified stem cells may offer treatment for Alzheimer's disease

Mathew Blurton-Jones
UC Irvine neurobiologists have found that genetically modified neural stem cells show positive results when transplanted into the brains of mice with the symptoms and pathology of Alzheimer's disease. The pre-clinical trial is published in the journal Stem Cells Research and Therapy, and the approach has been shown to work in two different mouse models.

Alzheimer's disease, one of the most common forms of dementia, is associated with accumulation of the protein amyloid-beta in the brain in the form of plaques. While the search continues for a viable treatment, scientists are now looking into non-pharmaceutical ways to slow onset of this disease.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Center for Joint Regeneration in Arizona now offers stem cell procedures for arthritis, tendonitis and ligament injuries

Center for Joint Regeneration in Arizona
The orthopedic stem cell clinic in Arizona, Center for Joint Regeneration, is now offering stem cell procedures for arthritis, tendonitis and ligament injuries. The procedures have the ability to provide pain relief and help patients avoid the need for joint replacement or soft tissue surgery.

There are two Board Certified, Fellowship Trained Orthopedic Doctors at the Center for Joint Regeneration. Drs. Adam Farber and Sumit Dewanjee offer stem cell procedures for all types of joint arthritis along with soft tissue injuries. This includes hip, knee and shoulder arthritis along with rotator cuff tendonitis and tears, knee injuries and elbow tendonitis.