Tag Archives: stem cells

Official definition of human embryonic stem cells widened in US

By Dr Philippa Brice, PHGFoundation.org

The official definition of human embryonic stem (HES) cells in US National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines is to be broadened from those ‘derived from the inner cell mass of blastocyst stage human embryo’ (ie. from embryos that have reached the blastocyst stage at four or five days old, 70-100 cells), to include also those derived from earlier stage embryos.

Dr Lana Skirboll, director of the Office of Science Policy of the NIH, reportedly said: “We are making what I think is a relatively small technical change to the definition of human embryonic stem cells…This changes none of the ethical requirements in the guidelines” (see Reuters news). This move was prompted by an application from a commercial source to list cell lines derived from eight-cell stage embryos, and will make some commercial and academic research programs potentially eligible for government funding.

Derivation of HES cells from a cell taken from an eight-cell stage embryo could possibly allow implantation and normal development of the remaining seven-cell embryo. This is what happens in pre-implantation prenatal diagnosis (PGD); one cell is removed for genetic analysis and, if healthy, the seven-cell embryo is implanted and can grow into a normal fetus.

Treatments Autologous Stem Cell Transplants

This video details autologous stem cell transplants and offers insightful animations of the procedure.

In an autologous stem cell transplant, you are your own donor. Your peripheral blood stem cells are taken from you, frozen until needed, then given back to you after you have received high doses of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both, to destroy cancer cells.

“An autologous stem cell transplant removes your bone marrow stem cells so that you can be given larger doses of chemotherapy and radiation. Following therapy, your unharmed stem cells are returned”

Cancer Treatment Centers of America

A ‘huge leap forward’ for stem cell research

From usatoday.com

Scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine may have taken the controversy out of the entire field of stem cell research.

In a paper published online today in the journal Nature, they report that they were able to transform mouse skin cells directly into functioning nerve cells without needing to go through a stem cell stage first.

As they say in their paper, this “could have important implications for studies of neural development, neurological disease modeling and regenerative medicine.”

Click link above for complete article.

International Stem Cell Corporation Progresses towards Establishment of the Industry’s First Universal Stem Cell Bank, UniStemCell™

OCEANSIDE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–International Stem Cell Corporation (OTCBB: ISCO), www.internationalstemcell.com, announced today that it has signed up the first two in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics and engaged an experienced pharmaceutical industry executive to lead the establishment of the company’s universal stem cell bank, UniStemCell™. International Stem Cell Corporation has made breakthrough stem cell discoveries that result in unique advantages over the only two other proven methods of making human pluripotent stem cells. In particular, for the first time in industry history, this will enable the establishment of a bank containing a manageable number of stem cell lines that will be immunological matches for large patient populations of different ethnic origin.

“By combining the proven oocyte retrieval experience and clinical excellence of California Center for Reproductive Medicine and Acacio Fertility Center with the pharmaceutical and operational experience of Dr. Craw, International Stem Cell Corporation is well positioned to generate the world’s first cGMP quality hpSC lines in 2010.”

The company uses unfertilized eggs (oocytes) to create human “parthenogenic” stem cells (hpSCs). Like embryonic stem cells (ESCs), hpSCs are pluripotent (i.e. have the capacity to become almost any cell type in the body), yet avoid ethical issues associated with use or destruction of viable human embryos. Unlike induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSs), hpSCs do not involve extensive gene manipulation, which may have unknown biological impact. Unlike both ESCs and iPSs, hpSCs can be created in a homozygous form such that each line will be an immunological match for millions of patients.

International Stem Cell Corporation has partnered with two IVF clinics in Southern California, California Center for Reproductive Medicine under the leadership of Dr. Lori Arnold and Acacio Fertility Center under the leadership of Dr. Brian Acacio. Both clinics provide exceptional clinical care for egg donors and IVF patients, not only regionally but across the US and abroad. California Center for Reproductive Medicine and Acacio Fertility Center provide a US source of oocytes under full regulatory and medical oversight that allow for the creation of the first clinical grade hpSC lines anywhere in the world. Dr. Acacio says: “We look forward to participating in this important research with the ultimate goal of each egg donation not only helping a single couple but millions of people with degenerative diseases.” Dr. Arnold says: “While we provide world-class care for our IVF patients, we are excited to add our clinical expertise and join International Stem Cell Corporation in this medical frontier of regenerative medicine.”

Click here for complete article.

Neuralstem Announces First Patient Treated in ALS Stem Cell Trial

ROCKVILLE, Md., Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Neuralstem, Inc. (NYSE Amex: CUR) announced that the first ALS patient was treated with its spinal cord stem cells yesterday at the Emory ALS Center at Emory University, in Atlanta, GA.  A total of up to 18 patients is planned to be treated in this first U.S. clinical trial to evaluate human neural stem cells for the treatment of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).  ALS affects roughly 30,000 people in the U.S., with about 5,600 new diagnoses per year, according to the ALS Association.

“The treatment of the first patient with our spinal cord stem cells represents a significant milestone for the Company,” said Neuralstem President and CEO, Richard Garr.

Click here for complete article.

Primetime Special on Cord Blood Stem Cell Therapy

Two cerebral palsy patients and CBR clients who are experiencing positive results after undergoing reinfusion of their own cord blood stem cells were featured on the NBC San Francisco Bay Area show Health Matters: Stem Cell Therapy Today & Tomorrow.

Stem Cells: Developing New Cures

New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) has helped create a video on stem cell research currently playing in the Hall of Human Origins at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It portrays the promise of stem cell therapies for human disease and demonstrates the potential of the research to create opportunities for studying disease fundamentals.

Stem Cells: Developing New Cures from NYSCF on Vimeo.

Adult Stem Cells Success Stories – Amy Daniels

StemCellResearchFacts.com – Amy Daniels was terrified when she learned that she had Scleroderma- a disease that causes the tissue in the skin, blood vessels, and muscles to harden. It’s known as the disease that turns people into stone. Amy was fortunate to get into a medical study that used Adult Stem Cells from her own body to save her life. She is now completely cured from the disease.

New stem cell treatment holds promise for cerebral palsy patients

By Deborah Takahara,  KDVR.com

Dominic King and Harrison Spiers have so much in common. Best friends for seven years, they are both in the 5th grade at Cottonwood Creek Elementary School. They both love to ride horses. They both love to go to baseball games. And both were born with Cerebral Palsy.

“It’s (caused) a lack of oxygen before, during, or right after birth,” Dominic’s mom, Christina King explained. “With Dominic, we don’t know what happened.”

Alicia Spiers, Harrison’s mother, says he can’t feed himself, can’t give himself a bath and can’t take himself to the bathroom.

“It’s just like having a newborn in a 10-year-old’s body,” Spiers told us.

The families tried everything from therapy to experimental procedures, but nothing seemed to be helping. Then, last year, Harrison’s parents asked him what he wanted for Christmas. “I want stem cells,” he told them.

His parents knew right where to turn. They had a friend named Jessie Hinkley, a medical student.

“I taught them about a new procedure being done in Germany where they can take stem cells from the bone marrow from that patient and turn them into brain cells, and then go up to the brain and repair sites that were damaged,” Hinkley said.

Harrison’s father said the procedure is not related to the use of embryonic stem cells.

“There’s been a lot of debate on health care, and stem cells. This is not controversial. They are taking it from (Harrison’s) own body and putting it back in his own body. It’s here and now, not maybe 30 years from now,” he said.

But the procedure is not done in the United States, so the boys would have to raise thousands of dollars and travel to Germany. Fortunately, their school and their community stepped up and made it possible.

“It’s amazing. I know we keep saying that word, but truly is,” Alicia Spears. “(We) hear it everyday on the news?people are being laid off, unemployment numbers are up, money is tight. And yet, people in this neighborhood and this community found a way to write checks.”

“It hit me, I started crying in the car and thought this is just unbelievable what people will do,” Christina King said.

The boys took the trip to Germany and had the stem cell treatment done in August. They were back in time to start the school year, and their families say they’ve already started to see the results.

Dominic is starting to read. Harrison is sitting up by himself. Speaking is getting easier. Their parents don’t know how much to credit the stem cell therapy, but they are convinced it has made a difference.

“I see things almost every day: (Harrison’s) fine motor skills get better, just a little bit more everyday,” Alicia Spiers says. “People used to say ‘hi’ to him and you could count to 10 before he would say ‘hi’ back. Now it’s pretty instant.”

Harrison’s father hopes other people with other disabilities can take advantage of the procedure.

“There’s really no limit to what could happen. That’s the part that’s intoxicating.”

Stem Cells Implantation- A Miracle Cure for Blindness

By Snigdha Taduri for BiomedME.com

In a revolutionary experiment, British scientists have discovered a innovative treatment for curing the most common cause for blindness by using a line of patients own embryonic stem cells. Age related macular degeneration is the most common case of blindness in elderly, with at least 300,000 patients being affected every year- a number that is expected to treble in the next 25 years.

The London Project to Cure Blindness is the world’s first blindness therapy that involves replacing damaged retinal cells with stem cells which entailed injecting cells into the back of the eye to replaced damaged photoreceptors – tiny light-sensitive cells found in the retina and key to vision. The key step in the experiment was the selection of slightly more mature stem cells that turned into photoreceptors and formed connections with the nerves leading to the brain.

Most of the transplanted photoreceptors were rod cells that are responsible for vision in the night. It is believed that transplant of cone cells would help enhance viewing of colour and viewing detail. This transplant combination of rod and cone cells would provide an overall enhanced vision to patients.

This premise of this experiment is based on the belief that human retina houses cells that can be used for such transplants. This pioneering stem cell surgery, spearheaded by researchers at the world-famous Moorfields Eye Hospital in London plans to begin clinical trials on humans in two years.

Lyndon da Cruz, a surgeon at Moorfields says the surgery has the potential to become as commonplace as a cataract surgery in a few years time. Tom Bremridge, chief executive of the Macular Disease Society, said: “This is a huge step forward for patients. We are extremely pleased that the big guns have become involved, because, once this treatment is validated, it will be made available to a huge volume of patients.”

Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical research company, has announced its financial backing to bring the therapy to patients. Pfizer’s role would be crucial in bringing production of the membranes to an industrial level. Professor Coffey, the project leader for the London Project to Cure Blindness commented: “We have not only the benefit of Pfizer’s experience of the regulatory process and their expertise in stem cell technology but the ability, if this works, to produce on a much larger scale.  It has huge implications, not only for our project, but for the field of regenerative medicine as a whole.  And it is great that Britain is at the forefront of this research.”