Tag Archives: stem cells

Stem cells & treating tumors

From UniversityofCalifornia.edu

Human embryonic stem cells could help people with learning and memory deficits after radiation treatment for brain tumors, suggests a new UC Irvine study.

Research with rats found that transplanted stem cells restored learning and memory to normal levels four months after radiotherapy. In contrast, irradiated rats that didn’t receive stem cells experienced a more than 50 percent drop in cognitive function.

“Our findings provide the first evidence that such cells can be used to ameliorate radiation-induced damage of healthy tissue in the brain,” says Charles Limoli, UCI radiation oncology associate professor and senior author of the study, appearing online the week of Nov. 9 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Stem Cells: Scientists Successfully Reprogram Blood Cells

From ScienceDaily.com

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Surgeons ‘Grow’ New Cheekbones for 15-Year-Old Born With Rare Condition

From Foxnews.com
A 15-year-old boy born without cheekbones has a new lease on life after surgeons at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital used a first-of-its-kind procedure to reconstruct the teen’s face.

They did it by using a combination of donor bone, growth hormone and the teenager’s own stem cells, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Brad Guilkey was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, which is a rare genetic condition that affects the development of bones and other tissues in the face. It’s passed down through families and is estimated to occur in 1 in 50,000 people, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Brad was born without zygomatic bones, which is the arch of bone beneath the eye that forms the prominence of the cheek. Because of the lack of this bone, the teenager was left with a “sunken-cheek” look.

In order to fix this, Dr. Jesse Taylor, the surgeon in the division of craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery, first carved a model of the missing bones from cadaver bone.

Next, Taylor and his team injected the cadaver bone with stem cells harvested from Brad’s stomach fat and a type of growth hormone, called Bone Morphogenic Protein-2, which signals stem cells to turn into bone cells.

The team then wrapped the whole construct in a piece of periosteum — the thick membrane covering the entire surface of a bone – which was harvested from Brad’s thigh. Finally, they placed the bone constructs in Brad’s skull.

A few months after the surgery, doctors received the news they were hoping for: CT scans showed new living bone had grown in place in Brad’s skull.

Taylor said this technique gives doctors a new option for treating children and adults who have lost bone to disease or traumatic injury.

Jaw bone created from stem cells

From news.bbc.co.uk

Scientists have created part of the jaw joint in the lab using human adult stem cells.

They say it is the first time a complex, anatomically-sized bone has been accurately created in this way.

It is hoped the technique could be used not only to treat disorders of the specific joint, but more widely to correct problems with other bones too.

The Columbia University study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The bone which has been created in the lab is known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Problems with the joint can be the result of birth defects, arthritis or injury.

Although they are widespread, treatment can be difficult.

The joint has a complex structure which makes it difficult to repair by using grafts from bones elsewhere in the body.

The latest study used human stem cells taken from bone marrow.

These were seeded into a tissue scaffold, formed into the precise shape of the human jaw bone by using digital images from a patient.

The cells were then cultured using a specially-designed bioreactor which was able to infuse the growing tissue with exactly the level of nutrients found during natural bone development.

Big potential
Lead researcher Dr Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic said: “The availability of personalised bone grafts engineered from the patient’s own stem cells would revolutionise the way we currently treat these defects.”

Dr Vunjak-Novakovic said the new technique could also be applied to other bones in the head and neck, including skull bones and cheek bones, which are similarly difficult to graft.

The option to engineer anatomically pieces of human bone in this way could potentially transform the ability to carry out reconstruction work, for instance following serious injury or cancer treatment.

She said: “We thought the jawbone would be the most rigorous test of our technique; if you can make this, you can make any shape.”

She stressed that the joint created in the lab was bone only, and did not include other tissue, such as cartilage. However, the Columbia team is working on a new method for engineering hybrid grafts including bone and cartilage.

Another major challenge for scientists will be to find a way to engineer bone with a blood supply that can be easily connected to the blood supply of the host.

Professor Anthony Hollander, a tissue engineering expert from the University of Bristol who helped produce an artificial windpipe last year, said there was still a lot of work to be done before the new bone could be used on patients.

But he said: “One of the major problems facing scientists in this field is how to engineer a piece of bone with the right dimensions – that is critical for some of these bone defects.

“This is a lovely piece of tissue engineering which has produced bone with a high degree of accuracy in terms of shape.”

International Stem Cell Corporation and Absorption Systems Announce Potential Stem Cell Alternative to Live Animal Testing for Corneal Damage

OCEANSIDE, Calif. & EXTON, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–International Stem Cell Corporation (OTCBB:ISCO)), the first company to perfect a method of creating human “parthenogenetic” stem cells from unfertilized eggs, announces positive results of its collaboration with Absorption Systems to study ISCO’s stem-cell-derived human corneal tissue as an alternative to live animals for drug testing. Initial results using non-animal or “in vitro” tests indicate an excellent correlation between the rates at which drugs pass through ISCO’s lab-grown corneal tissue and rabbit corneal tissue. The results offer great promise for reducing the use of living animals for eye safety testing. ISCO’s human corneal tissue is created from parthenogenetic stem cells in the laboratories of Lifeline Cell Technology (Walkersville, MD), ISCO’s wholly-owned subsidiary.

See Intlstemcell.blogspot.com for complete article.

Stem cell trial for ALS treatment gets FDA OK

From ChicagoTribune.com

A University of Michigan neurologist is the principal investigator for the first human clinical trial of a stem cell treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Dr. Eva Feldman has worked with a team of neurologists to develop the protocol for injecting neural stem into patients’ spinal cords. The cells are patented by Neuralstem Inc., a Rockville, Md.-based biotech company.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Neuralstem’s plan to test the safety of the treatment for the fatal, untreatable neurodegenerative disorder commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The initial phase to determine the safety of the treatment is to take place at Emory University in Atlanta.

World Stem Cell Summit, September 21-23, 2009

The  World Stem Cell Summit unites the stem cell universe of researchers, ReGEN industry leaders, funders, medical philanthropies, policy-makers, advocates, educators and regulators to chart the future of regenerative medicine.

The comprehensive, multi-track program covers advanced science, commercial perspectives, disease progress reports and in-depth reviews of policy, law, ethics, regulatory issues and global economic development. Join 125 presenting experts, attendees from 25 countries and representatives from more 200 sponsors, supporting organizations and media partners, at this preeminent international networking event.

Organizers are calling it the largest stem cell conference to date.

A Stem-Cell Discovery Could Help Diabetics

By Alice Park, Time.com

Researchers are inching ever closer to bringing the latest stem-cell technologies from bench to bedside — and are, in the process, learning more about some diseases that long have remained medical black boxes.

This week, scientists at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) reported the first success in generating new populations of insulin-producing cells using skin cells of Type 1 diabetes patients. The achievement involved the newer embryo-free technique for generating stem cells, and marked the first step toward building a treatment that could one day replace a patient’s faulty insulin-making cells with healthy, functioning ones.

The experiment, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, also provided the first good model — in a petri dish — of how Type 1 diabetes develops, giving scientists a peek at what goes wrong in patients affected by the disease. Such knowledge could lead to not only new stem-cell-based treatments, but also novel drug therapies that might improve the symptoms of the disease.

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Creation Of Multiple Types Of White Blood Cells Directly From Embryonic And Adult Stem Cells

From MedicalNewsToday.com

In an advance that could help transform embryonic stem cells into a multipurpose medical tool, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have transformed these versatile cells into progenitors of white blood cells and into six types of mature white blood and immune cells.

While clinical use is some years away, the new technique could produce cells with enormous potential for studying the development and treatment of disease. The technique works equally well with stem cells grown from an embryo and with adult pluripotent stem cells, which are derived from adult cells that have been converted until they resemble embryonic stem cells.

If the adult cells came from people with certain bone marrow diseases, the new technique could produce blood cells with specific defects. It could also be used to grow specific varieties of immune cells that could target specific infections or tumors.

The likely most immediate benefit is cells that can be used for safety screening of new drugs, says study leader Igor Slukvin, an assistant professor in the university’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

“Toxicity to the blood-forming system is a key limit on drug development, so these cells could be used for safety testing in any drug development,” says Slukvin, who performs research at the National Primate Research Center in Madison.

Bone marrow stem cells are already used to screen drugs, but the new technique promises to produce large quantities of cells in a dish that can be more exactly tailored to the task at hand, without requiring a constant supply of bone marrow cells from donors.

The development of stem cells into mature, specialized cells is governed by trace amounts of biological signaling molecules, so Slukvin and colleagues Kyung-Dal Choi and Maxim Vodyanik exposed two types of highly versatile stem cells to various compounds.

Eventually they found a recipe that would cause the cells to move through a process of progressive specialization into a variety of adult cells. Slukvin’s study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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U.S. Stem Cell Research Seems to Focus on Two Lines

From Drugs.com

Only two of 21 approved human embryonic stem cell lines are routinely used by researchers in the United States, says a new study.

The study found that two cell lines, known as H1 and H9, accounted for 941 of 1,217 requests, or 77 percent, placed by scientists since 1999 for human embryonic stem cell lines housed at the two largest stem cell banks in the country.

Another line, H7, was requested 111 times, and 13 other lines were requested fewer than 10 times.

The study’s authors also found that H9 was discussed in 83 percent of 534 published studies from 1999 to 2008, H1 was discussed in 61 percent and H7 in 24 percent. The total is more than 100 percent because many studies used more than one cell line.

“I was surprised by the results,” Christopher Scott, director of Stanford University’s Program on Stem Cells in Society, said in a news release. “I never imagined that we would find that three-fourths of the requests would be for the same two cell lines.”

The study appears in the Aug. 7 issue of Nature Biotechnology.

Scott and his fellow researchers said the findings raise concerns about the reauthorization process of stem cell lines under way at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. If the lines that have been in use are excluded from federal funding because of ethical considerations, they said, scientists might abandon research on them in favor of other cell lines.

However, they added, the two most-used lines might have abnormalities or other characteristics that would make them less useful than newer lines.

Future NIH policies should preserve scientists’ ability to continue work on the well-studied lines while also encouraging the study of ne