Category Archives: news

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.

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.

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.

Stem Cell Therapy For Treating Pattern Baldness

RepliCel Life Sciences is developing an autologous cell-based procedure for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia (pattern baldness) and general hair loss in men and women. The procedure has the potential to become the first minimally invasive solution for hair loss. Please see website for more info.

NIH-funded study helps explain how zebrafish recover from blinding injuries

Decrease in neurotransmitter GABA triggers stem cell production in the retina.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, have discovered that in zebrafish, decreased levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) cue the retina, the light-sensing tissue in the back of the eye, to produce stem cells. The finding sheds light on how the zebrafish regenerates its retina after injury and informs efforts to restore vision in people who are blind. The research was funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI) and appears online today in Stem Cell Reports. NEI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

“This work opens up new ideas for therapies for blinding diseases and has implications for the broader field of regenerative medicine,” said Tom Greenwell, Ph.D., NEI program officer for retinal neuroscience.

Stem cell transplants may induce long-term remission of multiple sclerosis

Encouraging results help set stage for larger studies.

New clinical trial results provide evidence that high-dose immunosuppressive therapy followed by transplantation of a person’s own blood-forming stem cells can induce sustained remission of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the central nervous system.

Five years after receiving the treatment, called high-dose immunosuppressive therapy and autologous hematopoietic cell transplant (HDIT/HCT), 69 percent of trial participants had survived without experiencing progression of disability, relapse of MS symptoms or new brain lesions. Notably, participants did not take any MS medications after receiving HDIT/HCT. Other studies have indicated that currently available MS drugs have lower success rates.

The trial, called HALT-MS, was sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and conducted by the NIAID-funded Immune Tolerance Network (ITN). The researchers published three-year results from the study in December 2014, and the final five-year results appear online Feb. 1 in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

New Ultrasound Technique is First to Image Inside Live Cells

These are stem cells becoming fat cells. Using the ultrasound technique, we can start exploring why fat cells put on fat and whether we can make the cells ‘diet’. Credit: University of Nottingham

Researchers at The University of Nottingham have developed a break-through technique that uses sound rather than light to see inside live cells, with potential application in stem-cell transplants and cancer diagnosis.

The new nanoscale ultrasound technique uses shorter-than-optical wavelengths of sound and could even rival the optical super-resolution techniques which won the 2014 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

This new kind of sub-optical phonon (sound) imaging provides invaluable information about the structure, mechanical properties and behaviour of individual living cells at a scale not achieved before.

Stem Cell ‘Living Bandage’ for Knee Injuries Trialled in Humans

Newswise — A ‘living bandage’ made from stem cells, which could revolutionise the treatment and prognosis of a common sporting knee injury, has been trialled in humans for the first time by scientists at the Universities of Liverpool and Bristol.

Meniscal tears are suffered by over one million people a year in the US and Europe alone and are particularly common in contact sports like football and rugby. 90 per cent or more of tears occur in the white zone of meniscus which lacks a blood supply, making them difficult to repair. Many professional sports players opt to have the torn tissue removed altogether, risking osteoarthritis in later life.

The cell bandage has been developed by Bristol University spin-out company Azellon, and is designed to enable the meniscal tear to repair itself by encouraging cell growth in the affected tissue.

New Library of Human Stem Cells with the Brazilian Genetic Admixture

New human pluripotent stem cells lines are derived from individuals of the Brazilian population – with European, African and Native American genomic ancestry; they can be used for testing drug toxicity and for studying differential drug response

Most lines of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) reported worldwide are derived from people or embryos with European or East Asian ancestries. An article published on October, 6, at the journal Scientific Reports – from the Nature group – announces 23 new lines of hPSC with different levels of admixed European, African and Native American genomic ancestry. The library can be expanded to 1.877 cell lines and was established by the researchers of the National Laboratory of Embryonic Stem Cells (LaNCE), from the Center for Cell-Based Therapy (CTC), at the University of São Paulo, Brazil.