Tag Archives: stem cells

Free E-book Download

Emerging Technology Platforms for Stem Cells is available as a free download from ebook-share.net

This book focuses on practical applications for using adult and embryonic stem cells in the pharmaceutical development process. It emphasizes new technologies to help overcome the bottlenecks in developing stem cells as therapeutic agents. A key reference for professionals working in stem cell science, it presents the general principles and methodologies in stem cell research and covers topics such as derivitization and characterization of stem cells, stem cell culture and maintenance, stem cell engineering, applications of high-throughput screening, and stem cell genetic modification with their use for drug delivery.

Interact With Stem Cell Experts Live on brighttalk.com

WHAT: Stem Cell Summit hosted by BrightTALK™

At this free online summit, thought leaders present a series of webcasts sharing the latest innovations and breakthroughs in stem cell research and application.

These webcasts will feature live, interactive presentations by scientists, business leaders and academics addressing the latest discoveries in stem cell usage including reconstruction of the surface of the eye, research in embryonic stem cells, and delaying the onset of aging.

WHEN: Tuesday, May 12, 2009, from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. PDT (The webcasts will also be immediately recorded and viewable on-demand at brighttalk.com.)


“Reconstructing the Surface of the Eye Using Stem Cells” — Dr. Sajjad Ahmad, MRCOphth, PhD NESCI (UK)

“Beyond Embryonic Stem Cells” — Kenneth Aldrich, CEO, International Stem Cell Corporation

“Delaying the Onset of Aging via Rejuvenated Stem Cell Responses” — Professor Irina Conboy, PhD, UC Berkeley

WHERE: Summit program and registration is available on brighttalk.com: http://www.brighttalk.com/summit/stemcell

ADD WEB 2.0 CONTENT TO YOUR SITE: The summit can also be accessed (live and later on-demand) through the BrightTALK player, which can be embedded into any of your websites and blogs. For information on how to embed a player or to participate in future summits, contact Morgan Cantrell at (415) 955-0553 or mcantrell (at) brighttalk.com.

BrightTALK is devoted to making webcasting the ultimate business tool for transferring knowledge. BrightTALK creates a vibrant exchange of ideas between presenters and viewers featuring live, interactive access to the world’s top thought leaders.

Scientists Find New Way to Create Stem Cells

‘Chemical’ programming avoids problems genetic manipulation poses, study finds
From Forbes.com

April 23 (HealthDay News) — Scientists have converted adult cells into embryonic-like stem cells by using chemical programming instead of genetic manipulation.

Gene manipulation is an older method that has posed the risk of serious health problems such as cancer, the researchers explained.

The ability to make stem cells without genetically altering them could lead to the development of many new types of therapies for a wide range of diseases, including type 1 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, the team noted.

“We are very excited about this breakthrough in generating embryonic-like cells from fibroblasts [cells that give rise to connective tissue] without using any genetic material. Scientists have been dreaming about this for years,” research leader Sheng Ding, an associate professor at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., said in a Scripps news release.

Ding and his colleagues reprogrammed adult cells by engineering and using recombinant proteins, which are proteins made from the recombination of fragments of DNA from different organisms. They experimented with these proteins until they found the exact mix that enabled them to gradually reprogram the adult cells.

The reprogrammed embryonic-like cells from fibroblasts behaved the same as embryonic stem cells in terms of molecular and functional features, including differentiation into various cell types, such as neurons, pancreatic cells and beating cardiac muscle cells.

The study, published online April 23 in the journal Cell Stem Cell, was supported by Fate Therapeutics.

Guidelines for broader stem cell research unveiled

By Saundra Young, CNN.com

The Obama administration released a draft of guidelines for federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research Friday.

Under the new guidelines, federal funding would be allowed only for research using human embryonic stem cells from embryos created solely for reproductive purposes by in vitro fertilization. The embryos would have to no longer be needed for reproduction, and the donors would have to consent to their use for research.

Funding for research using adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells will continue. Funding will not be allowed for stem cells obtained from other sources, including somatic cell nuclear transfer, also known as cloning; in vitro fertilization embryos created specifically for research purposes; and parthenogenesis, the development of an unfertilized egg.

Click link above for complete article

Stem Cell Therapy Makes Cloudy Corneas Clear, According to Pitt Researchers

From UPMC.com

Stem cells collected from human corneas restore transparency and don’t trigger a rejection response when injected into eyes that are scarred and hazy, according to experiments conducted in mice by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Their study will be published in the journal Stem Cells and appears online today.

The findings suggest that cell-based therapies might be an effective way to treat human corneal blindness and vision impairment due to the scarring that occurs after infection, trauma and other common eye problems, said senior investigator James L. Funderburgh, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Ophthalmology. The Pitt corneal stem cells were able to remodel scar-like tissue back to normal.

“Our experiments indicate that after stem cell treatment, mouse eyes that initially had corneal defects looked no different than mouse eyes that had never been damaged,” Dr. Funderburgh said.

The ability to grow millions of the cells in the lab could make it possible to create an off-the-shelf product, which would be especially useful in countries that have limited medical and surgical resources but a great burden of eye disease due to infections and trauma.

Click link above for complete article.

Surprise! Heart Muscle Can Replenish Itself

By Bernadine Healy, M.D., U.S. News and World Report

It’s humbling to see medical dogma overturned, but that is exactly what happened when, contrary to deeply embedded thought, scientists led by Jonas Frisen from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reported in Science today that the heart can grow new muscle cells, and does so regularly, albeit slowly, in the course of a lifetime.

To cardiologists, this is a blockbuster discovery, since the heart has been pegged as a disadvantaged organ in terms of injury, healing, and repair. Susceptible to coronary blockages that can cut off blood and destroy major hunks of heart muscle at one time in a heart attack, the heart can only heal itself slowly, often leaving behind thinned and baggy scar tissue devoid of healthy, beating muscle. And the distortion and remodeling of the heart that comes with this muscle loss sets the patient up for cardiac failure, blood clots, and nasty heart rhythms. It was always assumed the heart could do no better. But that does not seem to be so.

The clever piece of work from Sweden used carbon dating to figure out the age of human heart cells. The spike in concentration of atmospheric radioactive carbon-14 triggered by above-ground Cold War nuclear tests between 1955 and 1963 allowed the researchers (with the help of physicists and sophisticated mass spectrometry from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California) to discover that, lo and behold, the heart has slow and silent regenerative abilities. The evidence: the many heart cells whose nuclei—which last the life of the cell—had radioactive carbon levels that coincided with the atmospheric spikes, occurring many years after the person was born. The study found that younger adults renew about 1 percent of their heart cells per year. The growth falls off to roughly half of that in the elderly.

This is no abstract, ho-hum science factoid. It makes incredible sense of something that has always puzzled me: If hearts can’t make new heart tissue, why did ever efficient Mother Nature give them stem cells? Yes, for years, scientists have known that adult stem cells can be found in the heart. This has prompted numerous centers in many countries to pursue stem cell therapeutics in patients with heart attacks, heart failure, and even severe angina to repair muscle and improve blood supply.

The work looks more than promising. In several studies, using cocktails of patients’ own bone marrow stem cells, which can be sifted out of the bloodstream and infused back into the patients in a concentrated and enriched form, has produced better-than-expected heart function and blood flow. (Adult stem cells circulating in the blood are known repairmen that can hone in on injured tissue anywhere in the body.) Recent studies in rats have gone so far as to create a matrix for these cells to grow on that can become a healthy looking, growing and beating tissue graft after being implanted in damaged heart wall.

The work is moving fast and furiously to make stem cell technology a standard part of cardiac care. Even the greatest skeptics have taken note. The Cochrane Collaboration, a well-respected international group that assesses the latest technology with a very tough eye, concluded late last year that, based on its review of reports involving over 800 patients from several centers, stem cell infusions after heart attacks have shown some definite benefits. To be sure, more work needs to be done, though.

Smart medicine honors the rules of the human body as best they can be determined. For example, a sturdy immune system fights off most microbes we encounter; and vaccines and antibiotics work because they complement that already finely tuned inborn system. The discovery that the wounded heart can renew itself over time, giving reason for the naturally occurring stem cells found in its muscle, provides great encouragement that harnessing and accelerating the body’s own regenerative capacity will become a powerful technology in the not-too-distant future.

Massachusetts Scientists Make Stem Cell Discovery

Somerville, MA, March 30, 2009 –(PR.com)– Cell Multiplication Controlled by a Surprising set of Genes.

Stem cell researcher Dr. Ann Kiessling announced today the discovery of cell characteristics that may explain important differences between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Scientists have for years been frustrated in their efforts to grow the trillions of adult stem cells needed for therapies, which is why embryonic stem cells seem promising — they can multiply endlessly and also develop into any cell in the body.

Kiessling discovered that early human embryo cells express CLOCK, and other circadian genes, that other human cells growing in laboratories did not. This was a surprise. Although scientists have recently become aware that human tissues have a circadian oscillator that cycles every 24 hours, in phase with the master circadian pacemaker in the brain that responds to light and dark, early embryos seemed too small to function like a tissue.

Kiessling also discovered that the RB gene, a powerful cell blockade, was turned off in the early embryo cells. This was also a surprise because RB is a well-studied blockade that prevents cells from multiplying unless needed and stimulated by growth factors. The lack of RB in the early embryo cells, in combination with the circadian oscillator, are unique characteristics that together enable independent, continuous cell duplication.

“These are exciting discoveries,” stated Dr. Kiessling. “To understand the cell machinery needed for independent, highly accurate cell multiplication, we need to understand early embryos, because they are the true stem cells. CLOCK expression and RB silence may be key elements in continuous cell duplication, and important to consider in the design of patient-specific stem cells capable of the expansion needed for therapeutic quantities.”

Developing conditions to inhibit RB and support the circadian oscillator may the combination long sought by scientists to multiply adult stem cells to the trillions needed for therapies for diseases such as heart failure, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, AIDS and cancer. “These findings are also essential to our research to improve the efficiency of deriving stem cells from unfertilized eggs, called parthenote stem cells. Parthenote stem cells do not have the ethical issues that embryos have, and appear to be as robust in multiplication as embryonic stem cells. Women with serious diseases, such as Huntington’s Disease, spinal cord injury, and Chrone’s disease, have volunteered to donate their eggs for stem cell research and derivation, a procedure well worth undertaking when this new knowledge can be implemented. Strategies to silence the RB gene will need to be carefully planned to allow it to turn back on when the cells are differentiated to specific cell types, ” Dr. Kiessling said. This ground-breaking work was the result of a collaboration between Dr. Kiessling’s team of scientists at the Massachusetts based Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation with a team of clinician scientists at the University of Athens in Greece. The work is the first of its kind and was possible through the use of cutting-edge microarray technology. BRF scientists examined expression of 44,000 gene elements in discarded early-stage (8 cells of development) human embryos.

Professor Dimitris Loutradis, the clinician scientist leading the Greek team, adds “This new understanding of human embryos may, finally, help develop ways to determine which embryo is developing normally and should be selected for transfer to patients undergoing assisted reproduction.”

According to Professor Jose Cibelli of Michigan State University, “This is a seminal paper. I am sure we will be referring back to it 10, 20 years from now.”


Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation
Ann Kiessling
(617) 623-5670
Loch Jones, 310-480-1234

Scientists may soon grow new teeth in lab

By Stephen Cauchi, Farmonline.com.au

AUSTRALIAN scientists are giving the dentally challenged something to smile about: the prospect of growing new teeth.

Stem cells are being used to grow new tissue around teeth in animals, a first step towards treating dental diseases in humans. The ultimate goal is for teeth to become the first complex organs to be created entirely from stem cells.

“I have no doubt that whole teeth regeneration is going to happen one day,” said Mark Bartold, from the University of Adelaide’s dentistry department.

Should the scientists’ ambitions be realised, whole teeth would be grown in a laboratory using stem cells taken from a patient’s baby or wisdom teeth. These live teeth would be implanted into empty gum sockets, replacing the current method of inserting artificial teeth on metal pins.

The science involves harvesting stem cells from the layer of dental pulp between the tooth’s dentine (the layer immediately underneath the enamel) and the cementum (the layer which covers the tooth’s root).

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UW researchers find safer way to reprogram cells

By Mark Johnson of the Journal Sentinel

Having mastered the ability to roll back a cell’s clock to its embryonic origin, scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison cleared a major technical hurdle this week, raising hopes that the technique could usher in a new kind of medicine that exploits the body’s own repair system.

Stem cell pioneer James Thomson and his colleagues reported Thursday that they have developed a safer way of turning cells from the foreskins of newborns into something very similar to embryonic stem cells.

Previous methods accomplished the trick but left behind viruses and outside genes, remnants of which could cause mutations, block the cells from growing into more specific types and even lead to tumors.

The UW team bypassed this obstacle by delivering the special genes with a plasmid, a small, very stable circle of DNA. This package reprogrammed the skin cells and was eventually diluted out of them. What remained were cells that appear to have the healing potential of embryonic stem cells, Thomson and his colleagues reported in the journal Science.

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Bedford researcher IDs genes separating adult, embryonic stem cells

By Marc Songini, MassHighTech.com

Scientists at the Bedford Research Foundation (BRF) believe they may have discovered the key genetic differences between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.

Working with a team of clinician scientists at the University of Athens in Greece, the Bedford-based BRF researchers found a connection between cell multiplication and a set of genes. It’s well known that stem cells have a widespread use in many therapies. The more controversial embryonic stem cells are capable of virtual endless multiplication and can replicate into any cell in the body. However, adult stem cells have proved they are limited in their scalability and adaptability.

For years, scientists have been trying to understand just what sets the two stem cell types apart. Now, according to BRF stem cell researcher Ann Kiessling, it appears that early human embryo cells have circadian genes — that is, genes that have a roughly 24-hour cycle. This was surprising; although scientists have learned that some human tissues cycle every 24 hours (in phase with a master pacemaker in the brain that responds to light and dark), it was assumed that early embryos were too small to function like fully-grown tissue.

Additionally, Kiessling saw that the RB gene, a powerful cell blockade, was de-activated in the early embryo cells. Because RB is a well-studied blockade that prevents cells from multiplying unless required, this also was surprising. The lack of RB and the presence of a circadian oscillator are unique characteristics that enable independent, continuous cell duplication, she claimed.

To understand the cell machinery needed for independent, highly accurate cell multiplication, it’s necessary to understand early embryos, “because they are the true stem cells,” she stated.