Stem Cell Possibilities in Autism Research

Dr. Ricardo Dolmetsch and his colleagues have generated stem cells from children with autism allowing them to study how the brain develops in children with ASD.

A conversation with Dr. Thomas Insel, Director, National Institute of Mental Health.

3 Contenders To Be The First Profitable Stem Cell Company

By Ryan Pollack, SeekingAlpha.com

Every day is a day closer to a disease being treated, or even cured, by a stem cell therapy. The medical field is in a transition with clinical trials that are ongoing using adult, embryonic, and other forms of stem cells derived and differentiated using various laboratory techniques. These three companies have the potential to be the first self-sustaining, profitable regenerative medical companies.

See complete article at SeekingAlpha.com regarding Advanced Cell Technology (ACTC), Geron (GERN), and International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO)

Nothing like Mother’s milk; potential treatments from stem cell in breast milk

Researchers have identified stem cells in human breast milk, which behave similarly to embryonic stem cells when cultivated in a medium containing nutrients.

See complete article at theconversation.edu.au

An overview of the human mammary gland with a focus on the role of breast stem cells during pregnancy. The primary function of the mammary gland is to produce milk to nourish young offspring. The mammary gland is comprised of three main cell types; alveolar, ductal and myoepithelial cells. During pregnancy, the mammary gland increases in size due to the action of breast stem cells, which can mature into any of the three mammary gland cell type.

For more information see wehi.edu.au

The potential of amniotic fluid stem cells

The University College London (UCL) Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine brings together 185 research groups across UCL and the MRC NIMR, with a common interest in all aspects of stem cells, tissue engineering, repair and regeneration and the development of their therapeutic and biotechnological potential.

HIV/AIDS: Progress and Promise in Stem Cell Research

CIRM has funded two HIV/AIDS Disease Teams led by scientists at UCLA and the City of Hope who are focused on stem cell transplant strategies that promise a long lasting resistance to HIV. Antiretroviral therapy provides life-saving medicine to HIV-infected people but it is not a cure. Long-term exposure to the drugs and the virus itself shorten a person’s life, even if they don’t develop AIDS. Both disease teams have a goal of getting to clinical trials within four years. For more info, go to: www.cirm.ca.gov/HIV/AIDS_facts

The Promising Cells Presented by International Stem Cell Corporation

Ken Aldrich of International Stem Cell Corporation (ISCO.OB) speaks on the latest research involving stem cell technology utilizing unfertilized eggs, as a basis for cell generation with a goal toward organ transplants which are immune to rejection by the body.

See complete article at the International Stem Cell Corporation blog

Red blood cells made from stem cells successfully injected into patient

French researchers have successfully injected red blood cells produced from stem cells into a patient. It’s the first time this has happened. Click here for full article.

Gladstone scientist converts human skin cells into functional brain cells

July 28, 2011 – A scientist at the Gladstone Institutes has discovered a novel way to convert human skin cells into brain cells, advancing medicine and human health by offering new hope for regenerative medicine and personalized drug discovery and development.

In a paper being published online today in the scientific journal Cell Stem Cell, Sheng Ding, PhD, reveals efficient and robust methods for transforming adult skin cells into neurons that are capable of transmitting brain signals, marking one of the first documented experiments for transforming an adult human’s skin cells into functioning brain cells.

“This work could have important ramifications for patients and families who suffer at the hands of neurodegenerative diseases such Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease,” said Lennart Mucke, MD, who directs neurological research at Gladstone. “Dr. Ding’s latest research offers new hope for the process of developing medications for these diseases, as well as for the possibility of cell-replacement therapy to reduce the trauma of millions of people affected by these devastating and irreversible conditions.”

The work was done in collaboration with Stuart Lipton, M.D., Ph.D., who directs the Del E. Webb Neuroscience, Aging and Stem Cell Research Center at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. Dr. Ding, one of the world’s leading chemical biologists in stem-cell science, earlier this year joined Gladstone and the faculty at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), as a professor of pharmaceutical chemistry. Gladstone, which is affiliated with UCSF, is a leading and independent biomedical-research organization that is using stem-cell research to advance its work in its three major areas of focus: cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease and viral infections.

Dr. Ding’s work builds on the cell-reprogramming work of another Gladstone scientist, Senior Investigator Shinya Yamanaka, MD, PhD. Dr. Yamanaka’s 2006 discovery of a way to turn adult skin cells into cells that act like embryonic stem cells has radically advanced the fields of cell biology and stem-cell research.

Embryonic stem cells—”pluripotent” cells that can develop into any type of cell in the human body—hold tremendous promise for regenerative medicine, in which damaged organs and tissues can be replaced or repaired. Many in the science community consider the use of stem cells to be key to the future treatment and eradication of a number of diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. But the use of embryonic stem cells is controversial—which is one reason why Dr. Yamanaka’s discovery of an alternate way to obtain human stem cells, without the use of embryos, is so important.

Dr. Ding’s work extends Dr. Yamanaka’s by offering still another method for avoiding the use of embryonic stem cells and creating an entirely new platform for fundamental studies of human disease. Rather than using models made in yeast, flies or mice for disease research, all cell-reprogramming technology allows human brain, heart and other cells to be created from the skin cells of patients with a specific disease. The new cells created from the skin cells contain a complete set of the genes that resulted in that disease—representing the potential of a far-superior human model for studying illnesses, drugs and other treatments. In the future, such reprogrammed skin cells could be used to test both drug safety and efficacy for an individual patient with, for example, Alzheimer’s disease.

“This technology should allow us to very rapidly model neurodegenerative diseases in a dish by making nerve cells from individual patients in just a matter of days—rather than the months required previously,” said Dr. Lipton.

In the experiments being reported today, Dr. Ding used two genes and a microRNA to convert a skin sample from a 55-year-old woman directly into brain cells. (MicroRNAs are tiny strands of genetic material that regulate almost every process in every cell of the body.) The cells created by Dr. Ding’s experiments exchanged the electrical impulses necessary for brain cells to communicate things such as thoughts and emotions. Using microRNA to reprogram cells is a safer and more efficient way than using the more common gene-modification approach. In ensuing experiments, Dr. Ding hopes to rely only on microRNAs and pharmaceutical compounds to convert skin cells to brain cells, which should lead to more efficient generation of cells for testing and regenerative purposes.

“This will help us avoid any genome modifications,” said Dr. Ding. “These cells are not ready yet for transplantation. But this work removes some of the major technical hurdles to using reprogrammed cells to create transplant-ready cells for a host of diseases.”

Dr. Ding is a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease and a UCSF professor of pharmaceutical chemistry. Dr. Ding, who performed the work described in this paper at The Scripps Research Institute, has pioneered the development and application of innovative chemical approaches to stem-cell biology and regeneration.

About the Gladstone Institutes
Gladstone is an independent and nonprofit biomedical-research organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discovery and biomedical innovation to prevent illness and cure patients suffering from cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease, or viral infections. Gladstone is affiliated with the University of California, San Francisco.

New stem cell trial study could redefine stroke treatment

A month ago, a 39-year-old single mother from Hawthorne suffered a severe stroke that left her unable to walk.

Paramedics took her to a designated hospital stroke center. To preserve her brain function, doctors treated her with clot-busting drugs and asked her if she would be the first to participate in a clinical trial involving stem cells

See complete article at abclocal.go.com

Adult stem cells effective against clogged leg arteries

At its worst, clogged leg arteries can cause dangerous complications like severe pain, gangrene, even loss of limbs. It’s treated with lifestyle changes, exercise and medications to surgical interventions.

Now for patients with the most serious blockages, researchers are studying an experimental option: adult stem cells.

Read entire article at ABCLocal.go.com.