Category Archives: Stem Cells

New Mayo Clinic Training Program Strengthens Regenerative Medicine

A recently announced doctoral research training program out of the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is very good news to the regenerative medicine industry in that it strengthens what we do by adding legitimacy to an oft-maligned form of medicine. We hope the Mayo Clinic’s decision to be at the forefront of regenerative medicine research spurs other medical universities to begin doctoral training programs of their own.

According to a December 12, 2017 Mayo Clinic blog post, the new training program “will prepare the next generation of scientists to accelerate the discovery, translation and application of cutting-edge regenerative diagnostics and therapeutics.”

In simple English, the training program will result in degreed researchers who will lead the way in regenerative medicine research for the next several decades. These professionals will be both doctors and researchers who will be looking at new ways to apply regenerative medicine principles in the treatment of all sorts of injuries and diseases. We are already looking forward to what they come up with in the future.

Above and Beyond Research

While Advanced Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) is training doctors to perform PRP and stem cell therapies, the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences will be training research doctors in a number of key areas including biochemistry, immunology, and biomedical engineering. But the training program will go above and beyond just research alone.

The Mayo Clinic blog explained that their training program will also seek to spread the knowledge of regenerative medicine throughout the school initially, then to all five schools under the Mayo Clinic banner. In addition, the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine will also be working with the College of Medicine and Science to create a new master’s program in regenerative medicine sciences.

The long and short of it is that the Mayo Clinic believes strongly enough in the future of regenerative medicine that they are willing to invest in training the doctors tomorrow. That is exciting news to anyone in the regenerative medicine industry. The Mayo Clinic’s commitment demonstrates that regenerative medicine is not pseudoscience or quackery. Rather, it is a legitimate form of medicine that will reshape the way the medical field does things in the years to come.

Developing the Treatments of Tomorrow

The result of the research that will eventually come from Mayo Clinic graduates will make up the regenerative medicine treatments of tomorrow. Right now, ARMI trains doctors in very rudimentary procedures for using PRP and stem cell therapies to treat musculoskeletal injuries, osteoarthritis, chronic pain, and more. Who knows what those treatments will look like 20 years from now?

Regardless of what they look like though, we have every intention of continuing our PRP and stem cell therapy training courses for as long as the demand is there. We have already assisted more than 200 physicians and clinics establish their own regenerative medicine treatments; we are prepared to assist as many additional doctors and clinics as possible.

We are firmly behind PRP and stem cell therapies as the ‘next big thing’ in modern medicine. We believe the evidence is there for the procedures we teach, and we are fully confident that more evidence will emerge as a result of ongoing research.

While the Mayo Clinic focuses on encouraging regenerative medicine research, what is your practice doing? If you’ve been thinking of a way to offer new treatments to your patients in sports medicine or orthopedics, we strongly encourage you to consider PRP and stem cell therapy training. Regenerative medicine could be just the thing you are looking for to enhance your practice.

UCLA scientists make cells that enable the sense of touch

Researchers are the first to create sensory interneurons from stem cells

Researchers at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA have, for the first time, coaxed human stem cells to become sensory interneurons — the cells that give us our sense of touch. The new protocol could be a step toward stem cell–based therapies to restore sensation in paralyzed people who have lost feeling in parts of their body.

The study, which was led by Samantha Butler, a UCLA associate professor of neurobiology and member of the Broad Stem Cell Research Center, was published today in the journal Stem Cell Reports.

Human embryonic stem cell-derived neurons (green) showing nuclei in blue. Left: with retinoic acid added. Right: with retinoic acid and BMP4 added, creating proprioceptive sensory interneurons (pink).

Sensory interneurons, a class of neurons in the spinal cord, are responsible for relaying information from throughout the body to the central nervous system, which enables the sense of touch. The lack of a sense of touch greatly affects people who are paralyzed. For example, they often cannot feel the touch of another person, and the inability to feel pain leaves them susceptible to burns from inadvertent contact with a hot surface.

“The field has for a long time focused on making people walk again,” said Butler, the study’s senior author. “‘Making people feel again doesn’t have quite the same ring. But to walk, you need to be able to feel and to sense your body in space; the two processes really go hand in glove.”

In a separate study, published in September by the journal eLife, Butler and her colleagues discovered how signals from a family of proteins called bone morphogenetic proteins, or BMPs, influence the development of sensory interneurons in chicken embryos. The Stem Cell Reports research applies those findings to human stem cells in the lab.

When the researchers added a specific bone morphogenetic protein called BMP4, as well as another signaling molecule called retinoic acid, to human embryonic stem cells, they got a mixture of two types of sensory interneurons. DI1 sensory interneurons give people proprioception — a sense of where their body is in space — and dI3 sensory interneurons enable them to feel a sense of pressure.

The researchers found the identical mixture of sensory interneurons developed when they added the same signaling molecules to induced pluripotent stem cells, which are produced by reprogramming a patient’s own mature cells such as skin cells. This reprogramming method creates stem cells that can create any cell type while also maintaining the genetic code of the person they originated from. The ability to create sensory interneurons with a patient’s own reprogrammed cells holds significant potential for the creation of a cell-based treatment that restores the sense of touch without immune suppression.

Butler hopes to be able to create one type of interneuron at a time, which would make it easier to define the separate roles of each cell type and allow scientists to start the process of using these cells in clinical applications for people who are paralyzed. However, her research group has not yet identified how to make stem cells yield entirely dI1 or entirely dI3 cells — perhaps because another signaling pathway is involved, she said.

The researchers also have yet to determine the specific recipe of growth factors that would coax stem cells to create other types of sensory interneurons.

The group is currently implanting the new dI1 and dI3 sensory interneurons into the spinal cords of mice to understand whether the cells integrate into the nervous system and become fully functional. This is a critical step toward defining the clinical potential of the cells.

“This is a long path,” Butler said. “We haven’t solved how to restore touch but we’ve made a major first step by working out some of these protocols to create sensory interneurons.”

The research was supported by grants from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and its Cal State Northridge–UCLA Bridges to Stem Cell Research program, the National Institutes of Health and the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center.

Seasonal images reveal the science behind stem cells

stem cell christmas tree

Catarina Moura, University of Southampton

At first glance, a pair of award-winning images created by University of Southampton postgraduate researcher Catarina Moura seem to have a seasonal theme. But look more closely and you’ll see that the component parts of the pictures (or micrographs) of a Christmas tree and seasonal wreath are actually comprised of stem cells created using innovative laser-based imaging techniques used as part of a regenerative medicine research program in Southampton.

Catarina Moura, University of Southampton

The green circular objects in the pictures are collagen cells and the red ‘dots’ are fat cells, both extracted from human bone marrow which Catarina has colour-enhanced electronically to bring out their detail. Normally, the collagen cells that appear green on Catarina’s tree and wreath images would be bluer in colour but, she says, the fat cells would certainly appear red with the lasers used. “I’ve chosen green for the collagen fibres in my images because when you use the labelling technique typically you use a stain that fluoresces as green and, because a scientist would usually relate to that green colour when looking at labelled collagen fibres, I decided to use the same colour and create something more festive at the same time,” says Catarina.

Working with Skeletal Biologists at Southampton General Hospital, Catarina is investigating new optical techniques to monitor the development of the cells, used in new regenerative medicine approaches – in this case, to create and grow cartilage from human stem cells. Her PhD is focused on developing a novel label-free imaging approach for assessing human stem cells and skeletal regeneration non-destructively and non-invasively.

“I’m working with Professor Richard Oreffo and Dr Rahul Tare from the University’s Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells and Regeneration who are trying to create and grow cartilage in the lab using a patients’ own (autologous) stem cells to then be implanted back into the patient if they have a cartilage defect,” she explains. “My part of the project is to develop and use techniques to make it easier monitor the development of the cells into cartilage in real time which is important to knowing if and when you can use it for the patient. If it’s successful, you can use the same cartilage to create the new tissue so it’s very important for us to get the monitoring right.”

Traditional techniques involve labelling or injecting the cells with stains or fluorophores – fluorescent compounds that ‘glow’ when exposed to light – to detect their intricate structures. Under the tutelage of her PhD supervisor, Southampton’s Sumeet Mahajan, Professor in Molecular Biophotonics & Imaging in Chemistry & Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS), Catarina is using ultra-fast lasers to achieve the same effect but in a less invasive way.

“Traditional techniques to detect whether the cartilage is developing can be disruptive and, in many cases, destructive,” Catarina explains. “Our process has not been used before. What we are trying to do is introduce to biology techniques normally used in chemistry or physics, using inherent chemical or structural properties of the human stem cells. Currently for validation we still need to do the standard exercises alongside our new techniques to be able to compare the two sets of results and, of course, using ultra-fast lasers we need to ensure that everything is optimised before it can go to the clinic, especially the exposure time.

“The massive advantage with our stain-less laser-based imaging approaches is that you can use the stem cell sample without having to interrupt the developmental process in real time, you don’t need to perform any cell disruption and there is no photobleaching (fading) which is fairly common with fluorescent material,” Catarina enthused. “Just put the bioengineered cartilage under the microscope and you have the image.”

Professor Richard Oreffo added: “Crucially, unlike current standard staining-based methods the stain-less imaging approach is translatable to the clinic as the stem cells are not harmed or disrupted in any way. Hence, the technology can be used to objectively assess development and screen stem cells to be absolutely sure before using them for therapy.”

Professor Mahajan, concluded: “This work perfectly exemplifies highly exciting cross-faculty interdisciplinary research that is pushing boundaries to achieve high impact. PhD funding by the University’s Institute for Life Sciences for Catarina kick-started the collaboration between Richard and Rahul at the Institute for Developmental Sciences and us, which otherwise might have been difficult, that has led to exciting results, some stunning images and insight that has the potential to change people’s lives using stem cell therapy.”

Amniotic fluid is a rich source of stem cells – that can now be harvested

Amniotic fluid, the protective liquid surrounding an unborn baby, is discarded as medical waste during caesarean section deliveries. However, there is increasing evidence that this fluid is a source of valuable biological material, including stem cells with the potential for use in cell therapy and regenerative medicine. A team of scientists and clinicians at Lund University in Sweden have now developed a multi-step method, including a unique collection device and new cell harvesting and processing techniques, that enables term amniotic fluid to be safely harvested for large quantities of cells. Source: Lund University

RenovaCare SkinGun™ Stem Cell Sprayer on Exhibit at the Science Museum in London

RenovaCare, Inc. (OTCQB: RCAR), developer of the SkinGun™ and CellMist™ System for isolating and spraying a patient’s own stem cells onto burns and wounds for rapid self-healing, today announced the first-ever public display of its breakthrough technology, on exhibit now at the UK’s prestigious Science Museum in London.

Featured in the Tomorrow’s World gallery is the latest iteration of the RenovaCare SkinGun™, a futuristic, easy-to-use hand held medical device that delivers a healing mist of stem cells to wounds using an ultra-gentle spray technology.

Today’s SkinGun™ is a significant technological enhancement over its predecessor, that was used successfully to treat a variety of severe burn injuries including gas and chemical explosions, as well as electrical, gasoline, hot water and tar scalding burns.
(Click here to view before-after patient photos)

In as little as 90 minutes a burn patient’s own stem cells are isolated from a sample of healthy skin and sprayed on to wounds for rapid healing. The donor area is tiny, as small as one square inch. The harvested cells are suspended in saline and gently sprayed with RenovaCare’s SkinGun™.

As in the case of State Trooper Matt Uram – one of dozens of burn victims treated to date – patients are able to leave the hospital within only a few days. Current treatments, such as skin grafting, require hospital stays of many weeks while patients undergo painful, costly, and often disfiguring surgeries.

(Click here to watch video of State Trooper’s Stem Cell Recovery)

*RenovaCare products are currently in development. They are not available for sale in the United States. There is no assurance that the company’s planned or filed submissions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, if any, will be accepted or cleared by the FDA.

About the Science Museum

As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over three million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement. More information can be found at sciencemuseum.org.uk.

About the RenovaCare

RenovaCare, Inc. is developing first-of-their-kind autologous (self-donated) stem cell therapies for the regeneration of human organs, and novel medical grade liquid sprayer devices.

RenovaCare, Inc. is developing first-of-its-kind autologous (self-donated) stem cell therapies for the regeneration of human organs. Its initial product under development targets the body’s largest organ, the skin. The company’s flagship technology, the CellMist™ System, uses its patented SkinGun™ to spray a liquid suspension of a patient’s stem cells – the CellMist™ Solution – onto wounds. RenovaCare is developing its CellMist™ System as a promising new alternative for patients suffering from burns, chronic and acute wounds, and scars. In the US alone, this $45 billion market is greater than the spending on high-blood pressure management, cholesterol treatments, and back pain therapeutics.

Amount of water in stem cells can determine its fate as fat or bone

Top images (A): Illustrates the development of stem cells on hydrogel, a soft substrate, to pre-bone cells after the removal of water. Bottom images (B): Depicts the development of stem cells on glass, a hard substrate, to pre-fat cells after the addition of water. Photo: Courtesy of the researchers

Study is first to find cell volume can influence the future role of stem cells, regardless of environment.

By Marcene Robinson
Release Date: September 26, 2017

Adding or removing water from a stem cell can change the destiny of the cell, researchers have discovered in a new study published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

The research found that altering the volume of a cell changed its internal dynamics, including the rigidness of the matrix lining the outer surface. In stem cells, removing water condenses the cell, influencing the stem cells to become stiff pre-bone cells, while adding water causes the cells to swell, forming soft pre-fat cells.

Cardiac Stem Cells from Young Hearts Could Rejuvenate Old Hearts, New Study Shows

Animal Study Reveals That Cardiosphere-Derived Cells Secrete Tiny Vesicles That Could ‘Turn Back the Clock’ for Age-Related Heart Conditions


LOS ANGELES (AUG. 14, 2017) – Cardiac stem cell infusions could someday help reverse the aging process in the human heart, making older ones behave younger, according to a new study from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

“Our previous lab studies and human clinical trials have shown promise in treating heart failure using cardiac stem cell infusions,” said Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and the primary investigator of the study. “Now we find that these specialized stem cells could turn out to reverse problems associated with aging of the heart.”

The study was published today by the European Heart Journal.

How Stem Cells Know What to Become

How do stem cells know what type of cell they are supposed to become? Ph.D. student Jack Allen explains this and the research being done in the lab of Dr. Ricardo Zayas on tissue regeneration. Find out more here: http://www.bio.sdsu.edu/faculty/zayas/index.html

Study identifies RNA molecule that shields breast cancer stem cells from immune system

Image courtesy of Toni Celià-Terrassa and Yibin Kang, Department of Molecular Biology

Researchers from Princeton University’s Department of Molecular Biology have identified a small RNA molecule that helps maintain the activity of stem cells in both healthy and cancerous breast tissue. The study, which will be published in the June issue of Nature Cell Biology, suggests that this “microRNA” promotes particularly deadly forms of breast cancer and that inhibiting the effects of this molecule could improve the efficacy of existing breast cancer therapies.

Stem cells give rise to the different cell types in adult tissues but, in order to maintain these tissues throughout adulthood, stem cells must retain their activity for decades. They do this by “self-renewing,” dividing to form additional stem cells, and resisting the effects of environmental signals that would otherwise cause them to prematurely differentiate into other cell types.

Many tumors also contain so-called “cancer stem cells” that can drive tumor formation. Some tumors, such as triple-negative breast cancers, are particularly deadly because they contain large numbers of cancer stem cells that self-renew and resist differentiation.

Boston University scientists turn human induced pluripotent stem cells into lung cells

‘Bronchospheres’ may pave way for personalized cystic fibrosis treatments

Human lungs, like all organs, begin their existence as clumps of undifferentiated stem cells. But in a matter of months, the cells get organized. They gather together, branch and bud, some forming airways and others alveoli, the delicate sacs where our bodies exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide. The end result, ideally: two healthy, breathing lungs.

For years, scientists who study lung diseases like cystic fibrosis have tried to track this process in detail, from start to finish, in the hope that understanding how lungs form normally may help explain how things go wrong. Now, scientists at Boston University’s Center for Regenerative Medicine (CReM) have announced two major findings that further our understanding of this process: the ability to grow and purify the earliest lung progenitors that emerge from human stem cells, and the ability to differentiate these cells into tiny “bronchospheres” that model cystic fibrosis. Researchers hope that the results, published separately in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and Cell Stem Cell, will lead to new, “personalized medicine” approaches to treating lung disease.