Category Archives: Stem Cells

New Research: Combining Adult Stem Cells with Hormone May Speed Bone Fracture Healing

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 8, 2015) ? A combination of adult stem cells and parathyroid hormone significantly increased new bone formation in laboratory animals and may speed the healing process for human bone fractures caused by osteoporosis, a new study shows.

The study is published online by Molecular Therapy, a peer-reviewed journal in the Nature Publishing Group. Researchers used a combination of mesenchymal stem cells, which are derived from bone marrow taken from adults, and parathyroid hormone, also called PTH, which regulates human calcium levels essential for strong and healthy bones.

For 21 days, laboratory rats and pigs with vertebral fractures received daily injections of PTH. During the same period, the animals also were injected with five doses of stem cells. The study shows that the combination therapy significantly enhanced the stem cells’ migration to the area of the bone fracture and increased the formation of new, healthy bone.

Stem cell-derived kidneys connect to blood vessels when transplanted into mice

* After researchers transplanted kidney tissue generated from human induced pluripotent stem cells into a mouse kidney, the animal’s blood vessels readily connected to the human tissue.

Washington, DC (November 19, 2015) — Various research groups are collecting different types of cells and turning them into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that can then generate diverse types of cells and tissues in the body. Now investigators have transplanted kidney tissue made from human iPS cells into a mouse kidney, and they found that the animal’s blood vessels readily connect to the human tissue. The advance, which marks an important step towards creating a urine-producing kidney through regenerative medicine, is described in a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN).

In previous work, Ryuichi Nishinakamura, MD (Kumamoto University, in Japan) and his colleagues created 3-dimensional kidney structures from human iPS cells. In this latest work, by engineering the iPS cells to express green fluorescent protein so that they could be visualized and tracked, the researchers found that the iPS cell-derived kidney tissues were similar to those found normally in the body. Also, the team successfully transplanted the kidney structures into the kidneys of mice, where they matured further around adjacent blood vessels and formed a filtration membrane structure similar to that of a normal kidney.

“We are now working to create a discharge path for the kidney and combine it with our findings,” said Prof. Nishinakamura.

In addition to their potential for regenerative medicine, such kidney structures may help scientists model kidney development, investigate the causes of kidney disease, and assess drugs’ toxicity to the kidneys.

Study finds combination stem cell therapy improves cardiac function

A new study from the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine finds that combination stem cell therapy, using c-kit+ cardiac stem cells (CSCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can significantly enhance cardiac performance in chronic ischemic cardiomyopathy following a heart attack. This is the first time a combination of cells has been used in a large animal pre-clinical trial of established heart failure by researchers at ISCI.

Dr. Joshua Hare, director of Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, led the study, Synergistic Effects of Combined Cell Therapy for Chronic Ischemic Cardiomyopathy, which was published November 2, 2015 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

“Previous work from our laboratory strongly supported the scientific rationale for cell combination therapy,” says Hare. “Now, as the field is growing, ISCI is showing the benefit of combining multiple types of cells to produce a stronger, more effective treatment option for patients with severe heart damage and heart failure.”

A Prkci Gene Keeps Stem Cells in Check

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THE GENE PRKCI PROMOTES THE GENERATION OF DIFFERENTIATED CELLS (RED). HOWEVER IF PRKCI ACTIVITY IS REDUCED OR ABSENT, NEURAL STEM CELLS (GREEN) ARE PROMOTED. Credit: IN KYOUNG MAH.

When it comes to stem cells, too much of a good thing isn’t wonderful: producing too many new stem cells may lead to cancer; producing too few inhibits the repair and maintenance of the body.

In a paper published in Stem Cell Reports, USC researcher In Kyoung Mah from the lab of Francesca Mariani and colleagues at the University of California, San Diego, (UCSD) describe a key gene in maintaining this critical balance between producing too many and too few stem cells. Called Prkci, the gene influences whether stem cells self-renew to produce more stem cells, or differentiate into more specialized cell types, such as blood or nerves.

Aged neurons can now be generated using stem cell technology

Credit: Jerome Mertens and Fred Gage

Credit: Jerome Mertens and Fred Gage

Diseases of human aging have always been difficult to study in the lab. Stem cell technology always had promise, but when scientists reverted a skin cell from an 89-year-old woman back into a stem cell-like state, the cells became young again. Now, a new approach, presented October 8 in Cell Stem Cell, makes it possible to generate and grow cultures of neurons with gene expression reflecting a patient’s age.

These aged neurons are ideal for studying the differences between the old and young brain. For example, older neurons were found to have defects in the transport of proteins into and out of the nucleus, a mechanism recently suggested to play an important role in neurodegenerative disorders.

Studying Stem Cells With Computational Image Analysis

Stem cell research is one of the most exciting and rapidly evolving fields in science today. Using the latest software developed at Drexel’s Computational Image Sequence Analysis Lab , scientist can now automatically track tens of thousands of time lapse images to better determine cell growth, movement, and proliferation (a process that used to take months of manual analysis to complete).

Learn more about the research by clicking the link below…
http://drexel.edu/now/archive/2015/September/CloneView/

Scientists create functional liver cells from stem cells

Major implications for liver biology and drug discovery

THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM

Image: This image shows stem cell-derived hepatocytes emerging. Photo Credit: Yaakov Nahmias/Hebrew University

The liver plays a critical role in human metabolism. As the gatekeeper of the digestive track, this massive organ is responsible for drug breakdown and is therefore the first to be injured due to overdose or misuse. Evaluating this drug-induced liver injury is a critical part of pharmaceutical drug discovery and must be carried out on human liver cells. Regretfully, human liver cells, called hepatocytes, are in scarce supply as they can only be isolated from donated organs.

Now, in research published on the cover of the July edition of Hepatology, scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering report that they produced large amounts of functional liver cells from human embryonic and genetic engineered stem cells.

Stem cell gene therapy developed at UCLA holds promise for eliminating HIV infection

Method modifies immune cells to attack the virus, could be used to treat other diseases

Scientists at the UCLA Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research are one step closer to engineering a tool that could one day arm the body’s immune system to fight HIV — and win. The new technique harnesses the regenerative capacity of stem cells to generate an immune response to the virus.

The findings were published today in the journal Molecular Therapy.

Protein plays unexpected role in embryonic stem cells

A protein long believed to only guard the nucleus also regulates gene expression and stem cell development

LA JOLLA – What if you found out that pieces of your front door were occasionally flying off the door frame to carry out chores around the house? That’s the kind of surprise scientists at the Salk Institute experienced with their recent discovery that nucleoporins—proteins that act as cellular “doorways” to help manage what goes in and out of a cell’s nucleus—are actually much bigger players in expressing genes than previously thought.

The finding, published June 16, 2015 in the journal Genes & Development, shows that nucleoporins play an important role in maintaining embryonic stem cells before they begin to develop into specific tissues. This discovery gives a new understanding to genetic diseases that are caused by mutations in these proteins. One nucleoporin protein in particular has a dramatic—and unanticipated—function in the formation of neurons from stem cells.

Stem Cell Injection May Soon Reverse Vision Loss Caused By Age-Related Macular Degeneration

An injection of stem cells into the eye may soon slow or reverse the effects of early-stage age-related macular degeneration, according to new research from scientists at Cedars-Sinai. Currently, there is no treatment that slows the progression of the disease, which is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 65.

“This is the first study to show preservation of vision after a single injection of adult-derived human cells into a rat model with age-related macular degeneration,” said Shaomei Wang, MD, PhD, lead author of the study published in the journal STEM CELLS and a research scientist in the Eye Program at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute.

The stem cell injection resulted in 130 days of preserved vision in laboratory rats, which roughly equates to 16 years in humans.