Tag Archives: stem cells

Early Stem Cell Mutation Linked To Autism

From Oneindia.in

A breakthrough study on mice has shown that mutations in neural stem cell development may be linked to autism.

Reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by experts at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, the study showed that mice lacking the myocyte enhancer factor 2C (MEF2C) protein in neural stem cells had smaller brains, fewer nerve cells and showed behaviours similar to those seen in humans with a form of autism known as Rett Syndrome.

Dr. Stuart A. Lipton, a clinical neurologist who led the study, claims that his team”s study represents the first direct link between a developmental disorder of neural stem cells and the subsequent onset of autism.

“These results give us a good hint of how to look at Rett Syndrome and potentially other forms of autism in humans. Having identified a mutation that causes this defect, we can track what happens. Perhaps we can correct it in a mouse, and if so, eventually correct it in humans,” said Dr. Lipton.

Working in Dr. Lipton’s laboratory, the research team observed that MEF2C turns on specific genes, which drive stem cells to become nerve cells.

The researchers also observed a faulty distribution of neurons, accompanied by severe developmental problems, when they deleted MEF2C from neural stem cells in the animals.

They have revealed that adult mice lacking MEF2C in their brains displayed abnormal anxiety-like behaviours, decreased cognitive function, and marked paw clasping, a behaviour which may be analogous to hand wringing, a notable feature in humans with Rett syndrome.

“There’s a yin and yang to this MEF2C protein. My laboratory recently showed that MEF2C induces embryonic stem cells to become neurons. In this new research, we show that knocking out MEFC2 in the brain results in mice with smaller brains, fewer neurons and reduced neuronal activity. The commonality is the protein’s association in making new neurons,” said Dr. Lipton.

Reversal of Stem Cell Research Ban: 13 Stocks to Benefit

From SeekingAlpha.com

Earlier this week President Obama signed an executive order lifting the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research. In his speech made to the American people, he explained that scientific decisions must be “based on facts, not ideology.”

Back in 2001, President Bush moved to restrict federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research, making it the subject of his first prime-time televised speech from the White House. Now, Obama has flipped the tables with one swipe of the pen, a prospect that pleases many Democrats in the Congress. “Signing this executive order sends a clear signal around the world that our nation supports research based on science, not politics,” said Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, a strong backer of stem cell research.

While the Left argue that stem-cell research offers hope for millions of people suffering with debilitating conditions, right-to-life groups hotly oppose this move by the President because they equate it to murder.

This is clearly a very controversial topic. But for the time being, President Obama’s reversal this week of President Bush’s anti-embryonic stem cell policy has turned to the side of science and medicine. And while there is considerable uncertainty as to the ultimate benefits from embryonic stem-cells, companies involved in this research are going to clearly reap the benefits of this change in leadership and policy for at least the next four years.

There are only a limited number of stocks which are pure plays or semi-pure plays in the stem cell industry. However, with the reversal of this ban, this could become a very huge industry. The following list includes stocks that investors should keep on their radars.

Aastrom Biosciences (ASTM) – Aastrom Biosciences is involved in the development of cell products for the regeneration or repair of human tissues, based on its proprietary Tissue Repair Cell [TRC] technology.

Advanced Cell Technology (ACTC) – ACTC is involved in the development and marketing of human stem cell technology in the area of regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) – Alexion Pharmaceuticals is involved in the development of biologic therapeutic products for the treatment of hematologic and cardiovascular disorders, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.

ARIAD Pharmaceuticals (ARIA) – Ariad is involved in the development of medicines for the treatment of cancer by regulating cell signaling with small molecules. Their cancer products are used to treat sarcomas, hormone refractory prostate cancer, and endometrial cancer.

BioTime, Inc. (BTIM) – BioTime develops blood plasma volume expanders and blood replacement solutions for hypothermic (low temperature) surgery, and organ preservation solutions and technology for use in surgery, emergency trauma treatment, and other applications.

Celera Group (CRA) – This NYSE company, founded in 1937, is involved in the discovery and validation of new diagnostic markers, using proprietary genomics and proteomics discovery platforms and diagnostic products based on those markers.

Cellgene (CELG) – Cellgene is involved in the discovery, production, and marketing of therapies designed to treat cancer and immune-inflammatory-related diseases. Their primary product includes THALOMID, for the treatment of erythema nodosum leprosum. Last year, the company received patent on placental stem cell recovery.

Cord Blood America Inc. (CBAI) – CBAI provides private cord blood stem cell preservation services to families in the United States. The company also engages in the collection, testing, processing, and preservation of peripheral blood and adipose tissue stem cells, which allows individuals to privately preserve their stem cells for potential future use in stem cell therapy.

Dendreon Corporation (DNDN) – This company is involved in the discovery, development, and marketing of active immunotherapies, monoclonal antibodies, and small molecule product candidates to treat cancer. They manufacture the DACSÒSC stem cell enrichment device.

Geron (GERN) – This Menlo Park, California company develops cell-based therapies derived from human embryonic stem cell platforms for treatment of various diseases.

Integra Lifesciences Holdings (IART) – Integra develops, manufactures, and sells medical devices, implants, biomaterials, and instruments to the neurosurgery, surgery, and soft tissue repair markets.

Invitrogen Corporation (IVGN) – Invitrogen sells products and services which support academic and government research institutions, pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology companies, including tools for gene acquisition, gene cloning, gene expression,

StemCells Inc. (STEM) – This Palo Alto company is involved in the discovery and development of adult stem cell therapeutics for treating damage to the central nervous system, liver, and pancreas.

Obama Issues Executive Order To Lift Some Federal Restrictions On Embryonic Stem Cell Research

President Obama on Monday at an event with Democratic and Republican lawmakers is expected to announce that he will reverse restrictions put in place by former President George W. Bush on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, in keeping with campaign promises to “separate science and politics,” the New York Times reports. Although the decision to reverse the restrictions is “not surprising,” it is “nonetheless of great interest, involving a long-controversial intersection of science and personal moral beliefs,” the Times reports (Stout/Harris, New York Times, 3/7). According to the Washington Post, Bush imposed restrictions in August 2001 that limited federal funding to studies involving stem cell lines that were already in existence — about 21 lines. By lifting the restrictions, Obama will “allow thousands of scientists to study hundreds” of stem cell lines that have been developed during the last eight years, the Post reports. Researchers also will be able to “dismantle cumbersome bureaucracies constructed to work around the constraints and let them exchange scientific ideas more easily,” the Post reports (Stein, Washington Post, 3/7).

Obama’s announcement that he intends to lift the restrictions “is not likely to lead to any immediate change in government policy,” the Times reports. It may take many months for NIH to develop new guidelines for the research, but advocates are expected “to push for the process to go as quickly as possible” so universities can have adequate time to submit grant proposals before September 2010, when NIH must give out the last of the $10.4 billion allotted to the agency in the economic stimulus law.

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Multiple Sclerosis Stem Cell Therapy News Coverage

Creating Embryonic Stem Cell Lines

Brought to you by http://www.AllThingsScience.com/

The inner cell mass (ICM) cells of blastocyst-stage early human embryos can be removed and cultured. These cells can be grown in the lab indefinitely. Various growth factors cause these cells to develop into a variety of differentiated cells, such as muscle or nerve cells.

Stem Cells Cut AIDS Virus in Patient, Ending Need for Drugs

A German AIDS patient was able to stop drugs he had been taking for 10 years after getting a transplant of stem cells from a donor with a rare gene variant known to resist the deadly disease. The transplant also cured his leukemia, researchers reported.

The stem cell donor was among the 1 percent of Caucasians who have the variant gene that lacks a section known as CCR5 that helps the AIDS virus enter a cell, according to a report today in the New England Journal of Medicine. Doctors in Berlin hoped that putting the donor’s stem cells in the patient would rebuild his immune system and blood cells so they would lack the CCR5 piece.

The results of the experiment may point researchers to a new way of controlling the AIDS virus HIV that doesn’t force patients to take drugs for the rest of their lives. Scientists will now intensify their search for therapies that achieve the same effect, predicted Jay Levy, a University of California, San Francisco, AIDS researcher.

“I think this article is going to stimulate a lot of companies to put more emphasis on gene therapy,” Levy said yesterday in a telephone interview. He wasn’t involved in the research and wrote an editorial published today that accompanied the study.

One such trial sponsored by Sangamo Biosciences of Richmond, California, recently began at the University of Pennsylvania. It will test a gene therapy that aims to modify the immune cells in 12 patients infected with HIV so they lack the CCR5 receptor.

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