NIH stem-cell programme closes

Stem-cell researchers at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) have been left frustrated and confused following the demise of the agency’s Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM). The intramural programme’s director, stem-cell biologist Mahendra Rao, left the NIH, in Bethesda, Maryland, on 28 March, and the centre’s website was taken down on 4 April. Although no official announcement had been made at the time Nature went to press, NIH officials say that they are rethinking how they will conduct in-house stem-cell research.

 Researchers affiliated with the centre say that they have been left in the dark. When contacted by Nature on 7 April, George Daley, a stem-cell biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and a member of the centre’s external advisory board, said that he had not yet been told of Rao’s departure or the centre’s closure.
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Ancient Virus DNA Gives Stem Cells the Power to Transform

42 21909791 78194 990x742 Ancient Virus DNA Gives Stem Cells the Power to Transform

Human embryonic stem cells display as blue and green patchwork under a fluorescent microscope.

 Virus plays critical role in stem cells

A virus that invaded the genomes of humanity’s ancestors millions of years ago now plays a critical role in the embryonic stem cells from which all cells in the human body derive, new research shows.

The discovery sheds light on the role viruses play in human evolution and could help scientists better understand how to use stem cells in advanced therapies or even how to convert normal cells into stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they are capable of becoming any other kind of cell in the body. Scientists around the world hope to use this capability to help patients recover from injury and disease.

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Researchers claim stem cell advance

As new revelations further discredit a highly publicized Japanese study on the use of acid to create so-called STAP stem cells, scientists in the U.S. have quietly announced a research advance that involves a more traditional means of producing the amazingly versatile cells.

In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Nature, researchers said they had successfully generated embryonic stem cells using fertilized mouse embryos — a feat that many scientists had thought was impossible.
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NUI Galway researchers involved in project to use stem cells to regenerate cartilage

  NUI Galway researchers involved in project to use stem cells to regenerate cartilage

stem cells from adult fat tissue could be used to activate the regeneration of cartilage

NUI Galway researchers are part of an exciting EU-funded project looking at how stem cells from adult fat tissue could be used to activate the regeneration of cartilage. If successful, their work could lead to effective new treatments for millions of osteoarthritis sufferers. Positive, early results indicate the treatment could become a reality for patients within the next five years.

Osteoarthritis is a disease that affects more than 70 million EU citizens, including over 400,000 in Ireland. It is the most common form of human arthritis and is characterised by the degeneration of cartilage in joints, which can become very painful.
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Tumor suppressor gene linked to stem cells, cancer biologists report

 Tumor suppressor gene linked to stem cells, cancer biologists report

Tumor suppressor gene

Date:
March 26, 2014
Source:
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Summary:

Just as archeologists try to decipher ancient tablets to discern their meaning, cancer biologists are working to decode the purpose of an ancient gene considered one of the most important in cancer research. The p53 gene appears to be involved in signaling other cells instrumental in stopping tumor development. But the p53 gene predates cancer, so scientists are, for now, uncertain what its original function is.

st as archeologists try to decipher ancient tablets to discern their meaning, UT Southwestern Medical Center cancer biologists are working to decode the purpose of an ancient gene considered one of the most important in cancer research.

The p53 gene appears to be involved in signaling other cells instrumental in stopping tumor development. But the p53 gene predates cancer, so scientists are, for now, uncertain what its original function is

In trying to unravel the mystery, Dr. John Abrams, Professor of Cell Biology at UT Southwestern, and his team made a crucial new discovery — tying the p53 gene to stem cells. Specifically, his lab found that when cellular damage is present, the gene is hyperactive in stem cells, but not in other cells. The findings suggest p53‘s tumor suppression ability may have evolved from its more ancient ability to regulate stem cell growth.

“The discovery was that only the stem cells light up. None of the others do. The exciting implication is that we are able to understand the function of p53 in stem cells,” said Dr. Abrams, Chair of the Genetics and Development program in UT Southwestern’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. “We may, in fact, have some important answers for how p53 suppresses tumors.”

The findings appear online in the journal eLife, a joint initiative of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust.

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Breaking News: Growing Concerns Over STAP Cell Sources

 Breaking News: Growing Concerns Over STAP Cell Sources

Some STAP cells may have come from the wrong mice. Source: Wikipedia

“Very sad results,” said cloning pioneer Teruhiko Wakayama about the latest troubling development in the STAP (“acid bath”) stem cell investigation.

“I simply feel sad,” echoed Shinichi Nishikawa, former deputy director of Riken Center for Developmental Biology.

Both scientists were speaking to Bioscience Technologyabout Wakayama’s recent discovery that two of eight STAP stem cell batches made for two embattled Naturepapers were apparently not derived from a 129 mouse strain, as Wakayama was told. They were derived from F1 and B6 mouse strains.

“This is just preliminary data, but strong data,” emailed Wakayama, an author on bothNature STAP papers. “Very sad results. However, that 129 mouse experiment data was not used for [primary conclusions of the] Nature papers. We must wait until final data comes from others.”

The erroneous 129 data landed in one of the papers, contrary to press reports, Wakayama says. (See below.) The data indeed do not affect the papers’ main thrust, but are spurring calls for closer re-evaluations of other STAP stem cell lines.

In the Beginning

On January 29, a team from two prestigious research hubs—Japan’s Riken Institute, and the US’s Harvard University—published two Nature papers finding that mere coffee-mild acid could cause mature, one-week-old mouse CD45+ blood cells to dedifferentiate to an extraordinary totipotent stem cell state. The resultant cells were called Stimulus Triggered Acquisition of Pluripotency (STAP) cells.

But in ensuing weeks, blogger scientists—notably Juuichi Jigen in Japan, Paul Knoepfler in the US, and anonymous PubPeer commenters–have uncovered problems with the papers.  Four investigations were launched by Riken, Harvard, Nature, and the university that approved the PhD thesis of first author Haruko Obokata, Waseda. The most serious problems have included irreproducibility, and two sets of staining images that were supposed to prove pluripotency—but instead appeared to come from Obokata’s unrelated thesis, likely rendering them useless.

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Stem cells to the rescue: Repairing the hearts

PHILADELPHIA, Pa.

Coronary artery disease most common cause of heart attacks and death

Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of heart attacks and death in the world. Plaque builds up in the arteries, reducing blood flow to the heart. Now, a new experimental treatment could help improve blood flow to the heart and even repair it after a heart attack.
Debbie Minch is thankful for each day.
“Grace is what’s carried me through this,” Minch told Ivanhoe.
Ten years ago, at just 49, the choir singer and her husband were told she would need a quadruple bypass.
“Now we are at the point where my heart is severely damaged and nothing is really helping,” Minch said.
Doctors said a heart transplant was her only option, but she’ll soon find out if she’ll be accepted into a new trial that could use her own stem cells to help repair the once thought irreversible damage, “or even create new blood vessels within areas of the heart that have been damaged,” Jon George, MD, Interventional Cardiologist, Temple University School of Medicine, told Ivanhoe.
First, stem cells are taken from a patient’s bone marrow. Then using a special catheter and 3D mapping tool, the cells are injected directly into the damaged tissue.
“We have results from animal data that show blood vessels regrow in the patients that actually get stem cell therapy,” Dr. George said.
It’s a possible answer to Debbie’s prayers.
Temple University Hospital is currently pre-screening patients for the trial. For more information, call 215-707-5340.

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Stem Cell Findings May Offer Answers for Some Bladder Defects and Disease

For the first time, scientists have succeeded in coaxing laboratory cultures of human stem cells to develop into the specialized, unique cells needed to repair a patient’s defective or diseased bladder.

The breakthrough, developed at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures and published earlier this month in the scientific journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine, is significant because it provides a pathway to regenerate replacement bladder tissue for patients whose bladders are too small or do not function properly, such as children with spina bifida and adults with spinal cord injuries or bladder cancer.

“Our goal is to use human stem cells to regenerate tissue in the lab that can be transplanted into patients to augment or replace their malfunctioning bladders,” said Eric Kurzrock, professor and chief of the division of pediatric urologic surgery at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and lead scientist of the study, which is titled “Induction of Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells into Urothelium.”

To develop the bladder cells, Kurzrock and his UC Davis colleagues investigated two categories of human stem cells. In their key experiments, they used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), which were derived from lab cultures of human skin cells and umbilical blood cells that had been genetically reprogrammed to convert to an embryonic stem cell-like state.

If additional research demonstrates that grafts of bladder tissue grown from human stem cells will be safe and effective for patient care, Kurzrock said that the source of the grafts would be iPS cells derived from a patient’s own skin or umbilical cord blood cells. This type of tissue would be optimal, he said, because it lowers the risk of immunological rejection that typifies most transplants.

n their investigation, Kurzrock and his colleagues developed a protocol to prod the pluripotent cells into becoming bladdercells.

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Leading Surgeons Warn Against Media Hype About Tracheal Regeneration

AATS Logo with Tag Line Leading Surgeons Warn Against Media Hype About Tracheal Regeneration

Tracheal Bioengineering Should Be Shown to Be Effective and Safe Before Further Transplants, Reports The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Beverly, MA, March 24, 2014 – Reports of the two earliest tissue-engineered whole organ transplants using a windpipe, or trachea, created using the patient’s own stem cells, were hailed as a breakthrough for regenerative medicine and widely publicized in the press. However, two leading transplant surgeons in Belgium warn of the dangers of media attention, and urge that tracheal bioengineering be demonstrated as both effective and safe before further transplants take place. Their views are published in an Editorial in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, an official publication of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

In 2008, surgeons repopulated a donor trachea with cells from a 30-year-old woman, which they then transplanted into the patient. In 2011, a 36-year-old man who had been suffering from late-stage tracheal cancer was given a new trachea made from a synthetic scaffold seeded with his own stem cells. Both procedures were carried out by Professor Paolo Macchiarini and colleagues (Barcelona, 2008, and Sweden, 2011).

In 2012, an article in The New York Times, ‘‘A First: Organs Tailor-Made With Body’s Own Cells,’’ recognized tracheal regeneration as the first regenerative medicine procedure designed to implant “bioartificial’’ organs. The achievement was touted as the beginning of complex organ engineering for the heart, liver, and kidneys, and it was suggested that allotransplantation along with immunosuppression might become problems of the past.

“Major medical breakthroughs deserve the necessary press attention to inform the medical community and public of the news,” say Pierre R. Delaere, MD, PhD, and Dirk Van Raemdonck, MD, PhD, from the Department of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery and the Department of Thoracic Surgery.

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Stem Cell tourism takes advantage of patients says law professor

 Stem Cell tourism takes advantage of patients says law professor

Patients falling prey to ‘stem cell tourism’ may pay tens of thousands of dollars for procedures that carry no promise of success — or carry grievous risks of failure, says law and bioethics Professor Alta Charo.

Desperate patients are easy prey for clinics offering untested and risky stem cell treatments,

Desperate patients are easy prey for unscrupulous clinics offering untested and risky stem cell treatments, says UW-Madison law and bioethics Professor Alta Charo, who is studying “stem cell tourism.”

Stem cells are cells that can form many types of cells in the body, and that makes them inherently promising — and dangerous. “Stem cell tourism” refers to people traveling, both within the U.S. and abroad, in pursuit of advertised stem cell therapies to purportedly treat a variety of medical conditions.

 Stem Cell tourism takes advantage of patients says law professor

Alta Charo says stem cell tourism takes advantage of patients

“The evidence for therapeutic use of stem cells is very limited, except for bone marrow stem cells, but patients all over the world are convinced stem cells will cure their disease,” says Charo. “While there are some very promising results in the early clinical trials for stem cell therapies using embryonic and other kinds of stem cells, the ‘treatments’ being advertised by these clinics are dubious, mostly ineffective, and sometimes positively harmful.

Patients are being hoodwinked, but there are dilemmas about tackling (the ‘treatments’) at regulatory or political levels.”

The outrage over failures in stem cell tourism is limited, Charo says. Patients may pay tens of thousands of dollars for procedures that may carry no promise of success — or carry grievous risks of failure.”

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Breaking News: Bipolar Neurons Made from Skin Cells

 

bt1403 breaking Michigan Breaking News: Bipolar Neurons Made from Skin Cells

Neurons- derived from stem cells made from the skin of people with bipolar disorder

These neurons- derived from stem cells made from the skin of people with bipolar disorder- communicated with one another differently

than neurons made from the skin of people without bipolar disorder. (Source: University of Michigan Health System)What makes a person bipolar, prone to manic highs and deep, depressed lows? Why does bipolar disorder run so strongly in families, even though no single gene is to blame? And why is it so hard to find new treatments for a condition that affects 200 million people worldwide?

New stem cell research published by scientists from the University of Michigan Medical School, and fueled by the Heinz C. Prechter Bipolar Research Fund, may help scientists find answers to these questions.

The team used skin from people with bipolar disorder to derive the first-ever stem cell lines specific to the condition. In a new paper in Translational Psychiatry, they report how they transformed the stem cells into neurons, similar to those found in the brain– and compared them to cells derived from people without bipolar disorder.

The comparison revealed very specific differences in how these neurons behave and communicate with each other, and identified striking differences in how the neurons respond to lithium, the most common treatment for bipolar disorder.

It’s the first time scientists have directly measured differences in brain cell formation and function between people with bipolar disorder and those without.

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Wounded Pa. soldier seeks Chinese stem cell cure

YORK, Pa.

Soldier heads to China for stem cell cure

A York County soldier left partially paralyzed when he was shot in Afghanistan nearly two years ago is banking on stem cells to help him regain movement.

Doctors essentially will use minor surgery and stem cell therapy to build a bridge over two vertebrae that were shattered when Hanes was shot.

“At the minimum I’ll get at least some feeling back where I don’t have it in certain places, but I could get everything back if it goes well,” Hanes said.

U.S. Army Cpl. Hanes was shot while on patrol in Afghanistan in June 2012. He was left with limited use of his upper body and no use of his lower extremities.

RESEARCH: Soon after he returned to the U.S., Hanes began researching stem cell therapy as possible treatment.

That’s how he found Puhua International Hospital in Beijing, where he will fly on April 1 for the treatment. He’s slated to return stateside later that month.

“It’s coming up slowly now that I know it’s on,” Hanes said.

During his research, Hanes said he found the U.S. is “so far behind on stem cell” research compared to some countries in Asia, such as China, and Europe.

 

The furor over fresh-cell therapy (which is NOT stem cell therapy)

 The Philippines is the biggest market for the popular, if highly controversial, alternative treatment in Germany called fresh-cell therapy (FCT).

Fresh cells derived from the fetus of an unborn lamb are injected into patients, and are said to cure a large number of illnesses.

Despite the high cost of the treatment, wealthy Filipinos are undeterred, and typically arrive in droves in a sleepy town outside Frankfurt, their hopes of being cured or rejuvenated pinned on the life of every donor sheep.

Given its renown, it’s no surprise that questions about the efficacy and safety of FCT has been the subject of discussions among health professionals. There have also been rumors of deaths after FCT.

The proponents of FCT in Germany, however, claim that all talk about patient deaths and questionable safety standards are unfounded, and an uncouth effort to discredit FCT so that the same medical professionals here could promote stem-cell therapy, which is allowed in the country. They deny the rumors of deaths and challenge their accusers to show proof. They also maintain that FCT is a decades-old, legitimate and safe naturopathic treatment.

There’s also a rivalry in Edenkoben between the famous clinic Villa Medica and the breakaway practice of Dr. Robert Janson-Müller, who used to work at the same clinic.

Dr.  Müller now administers FCT in a hotel, which doubles as his clinic. This gave rise to talks questioning the standards of a practice that is done in a hotel, not a hospital. Some accounts also say that there have been Filipino patients fooled into believing they were bound for Villa Medica, only to find themselves in Dr. Muller’s hotel.

Inquirer Lifestyle visits the two rival clinics in Germany, and we experience firsthand what FCT is all about.

Read more: http://lifestyle.inquirer.net/154826/the-furor-over-fresh-cell-therapy-which-is-not-stem-cell-therapy#ixzz2wl6bGD8Q
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Would You Like Fries With Your Stem-Cell Burger?

670px nci visuals food hamburger Would You Like Fries With Your Stem Cell Burger? A ham burger with a rim of lettuce sitting on a black plate against a black background with a black and red napkin on a black and white-dotted tablecloth. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is not about cloning cows or anything that might be contemplated on the Island of Dr. Moreau. That, besides being really creepy, would defeat much of the purpose of the venture.

This is not science for the sake of science.

Many believe that cultured meat may not only help solve a future food crisis, it may also help combat climate change. Post believes this research represents a crucial first step in finding a sustainable alternative to meat production that’s more ethical and environmentally friendly.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the demand for meat will increase by more than two-thirds by 2050. In the short-term, evidence suggests meat will become an ever-increasingly expensive “luxury” food over the next two decades.

But the long-term issues are far more alarming.

According to the researchers, current meat production methods are inefficient due to the amount of land required for the production of grain for feed. Animals transform only 15 percent of vegetable proteins into edible animal proteins. Cultured beef production could prove more efficient as it can be conducted in a controlled environment.

A life cycle analysis by Hannah Tuomisto of the University of Oxford confirms large reductions in the usage of land, energy and water in the production of Cultured Beef, compared to obtaining beef through livestock.

“Feeding the world is a complex problem. I think people don’t yet realize what an impact meat consumption has on the planet,” says Ken Cook, Co-Founder, Environmental Working Group. “Eighteen percent of greenhouse gases come from meat production, more than all global transport combined. We just can’t keep doing what we’re doing. Unless we make some changes on how we produce meat on this planet, we’re in for a terrible reckoning.”

Livestock (before slaughter) release an enormous amount of methane, twenty times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. If global meat demand does increase by 73 percent by 2050, where is that extra supply going to come from when we already use 70 percent of existing farmland for livestock?

Well, if the Maastricht University estimates are correct, cells from one single cow could eventually produce 175 million quarter-pounders. In contrast, traditional farming methods would need 440,000 cows to accomplish that feat. And they would have to slaughter every one of those animals to do it. With cultured meat, the host animal is not killed.

So who is behind this project you ask? None other than Sergey Brin, Co-Founder of Google.

Read more….

USF study shows stem cells could help injured brains

meinhardtjane1000x1000new2013 USF study shows stem cells could help injured brains

Study offers hope for brain injuries

A study using a combination of stem cells offers hope for veterans, football players and others with traumatic brain injuries.

The preclinical study by neuroscientists at the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine involved a combination of human umbilical cord cells and a growth factor known as granulocyte stimulating factor administered to lab rats, according to a statement.

Supported by the U.S. Department of Defense, the study found that the stem cell combination therapy improves traumatic brain injury outcomes.

The combination therapy “significantly reduced” the loss of neuronal cells in the hippocampus, and showed the best motor improvements in the lab animals, said Cesar Borlongan, study leader and director of the center for aging and brain repair.

The study’s outcome “may indicate that the stem cells had more widespread biological action that the drug therapy,” said Paul Sanberg, USF professor and principal investigator of the project, in a statement. He is founder of Saneron CCEL Therapeutics Inc., which provided the cord blood for the study.

Read more….

Scientists develop method to generate stem cells from just a drop of blood

Scientists Develop hiPSCs from drop of blood

London: In a major breakthrough, a team of scientists has developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from just a drop of finger-pricked blood.

As hiPSCs exhibit properties remarkably similar to human embryonic stem cells, they are invaluable resources for scientific research.

Earlier methods to generate hiPSCs generally required large quantities of blood.

blood drop dna 220314 Scientists develop method to generate stem cells from just a drop of blood

The human induced pluripotent stem cells exhibit properties remarkably similar to human embryonic stem cells. (DNA, blood, via Shutterstock)

The new method developed by scientists at Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB), Singapore also enables donors to collect their own blood samples which they can then send to a laboratory for further processing.

The do it yourself (DIY) finger-prick technique is the world’s first to use only a drop of finger-pricked blood to yield hiPSCs with high efficiency.

“It all began when we wondered if we could reduce the volume of blood used for (genetic) reprogramming. We then tested if donors could collect their own blood sample in a normal room environment and store it,” said Loh Yuin Han Jonathan, principal investigator at IMCB. team of scientists has developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from just a drop of finger-pricked blood.

“Our finger-prick technique, in fact, utilised less than a drop of finger-pricked blood. The remaining blood could even be used for DNA sequencing and other blood tests,” Jonathan said.

Read more….

Stem Cell Therapy for Pets in Summit County Colorado Proves to Be a Success for Local Dog Suffering from Pain

gI 68049 island lamb Stem Cell Therapy for Pets in Summit County Colorado Proves to Be a Success for Local Dog Suffering from Pain

Ruby, a 10 year old Border Collie mix from Breckenridge, Colorado, has found relief from the pain of arthritis with stem cell therapy

Ruby, a 10 year old Border Collie mix from Breckenridge, Colorado, has found relief from the pain of arthritis with stem cell therapy by Vet-Stem, Inc. Ruby’s owners came to Jamie Gaynor, DVM at Frisco Animal Hospital for a second opinion after being told Ruby would need a total hip replacement to relieve her constant pain and discomfort. Her quality of life had diminished so rapidly they feared losing her.

Dr. Gaynor began performing stem cell therapy by Vet-Stem for pets in 2006, in Colorado Springs. Paralleling his specialties in pain management, he has now helped well over one hundred pets in the state of Colorado, and ones that traveled just to have his expertise. His credentials and experience made Dr. Gaynor the perfect fit for helping Ruby’s worsening bilateral hip arthritis despite aggressive drug therapy. Ruby would become Dr. Gaynor’s first stem cell therapy case at Frisco Animal Hospital; Summit County’s first and oldest animal hospital.

“Ruby was in constant pain and discomfort. She had to be carried up stairs and could not go on car rides; her second favorite thing to do. Her quality of life was diminishing rapidly, and we thought we were losing her,” explained Ruby’s owners.

Ruby’s stem cell procedure consisted of a small fatty tissue collection, which was sent overnight to Vet-Stem’s lab in California for processing. Once Ruby’s fat was processed, and stem cells were extracted, fresh doses of her stem cells were sent overnight back to Dr. Gaynor in injectable doses. Within 48hrs of collecting a fat sample from Ruby, Dr. Gaynor was able to inject stem cells into each of her arthritic, painful hips, making Ruby his first stem cell therapy case in Summit County.

Dr. Gaynor and Ruby’s owners were both pleased with the successful outcome of the procedure,  ”Ruby is back! She has regained her playfulness, sassy, bossy, collie attitude.

Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/1804955#ixzz2we5HiRp9

Oklahoma House Votes to Ban Research Destroying Human Embryos

Oklahoma Votes for Protection Of Life

Last week the House of the Oklahoma State legislature overwhelmingly passed the Protection of Human Life Act of 2013. This act prohibits the destruction of human embryos for research and prohibits research on cells that were obtained from the destruction of a human embryo.

HB2070 reads:

No person shall:
1. Knowingly conduct nontherapeutic research that destroys a human embryo or subjects a human embryo to substantial risk of injury or death;
2. Transfer a human embryo with the knowledge that the embryo will be subjected to nontherapeutic research; or
3. Use for research purposes cells or tissues that the person knows were obtained by performing activities in violation of this section.

humanembryos Oklahoma House Votes to Ban Research Destroying Human Embryos“Nontherapeutic research” is defined as “research that is not intended to help preserve the life and health of  the particular embryo subjected to risk.” IVF procedures are explicitly excluded from this bill. Violations of the Protection of Human Life Act would be a felony with a prison sentence of at least 1 year and $100,000 fine.

The House voted 72-14 in favor of HB2070 and it is now headed to the Oklahoma State Senate for a vote.

SFGate has some reactions on the vote:

“For me, and I believe for the majority of Oklahomans, the real question is about life,” said Rep. Dan Fisher, R-El Reno, a minister who wrote the bill. “When does life begin? I believe it begins at conception. And anything that is done to knowingly end that life is the ending of human life, and we generally call that murder.”

But opponents say it sends a message that Oklahoma is not open to taking part in groundbreaking research.

Read more…

Decades After Birth, Fetal Cells Remain in Mother’s Body to Repair Injuries

Fetal cells remain in mother’s body

Although widely known in the scientific community, it’s news to most laypeople that years—even decades—after a mother delivers her baby, some of the fetal cells will remain in her body. These fetal cells, which are some of the developing baby’s cells, while not necessarily stem cells, are adaptable in their ability to grow and repair tissues. We’ve carried stories about this phenomenon previously, including one we are reprinting today.

Liz Szabo writing in USA Today, adds additional breadth and depth to our understanding of the ability of these fetal cells to “come to a mother’s rescue” in a story whose sub-headline reads, “New study in mice shows that fetal cells carried by moms after they give birth may actually provide stem cells to help the body repair some damage.”

ultrasound3d8b Decades After Birth, Fetal Cells Remain in Mother’s Body to Repair InjuriesSzabo’s lead is extremely clever:

“Many moms carry photos of their children in their wallets.

“Yet mothers may be surprised to learn that they’re also carrying some of their children’s cells, years or even decades after the end of a pregnancy. And while a baby photo can melt a mother’s heart, the cells her child leaves behind in her blood may actually heal it, emerging research suggests.”

Or, as she puts it later, “[T]he fetal cells left behind in women’s bodies are more than mementos.”

The story begins with a discussion of a paper delivered last week at the American Heart Association’s International Stroke Conference in San Diego, by Louise McCullough, director of stroke research at the University of Connecticut Health Center. The story can be read in its entirety so let me offer a few highlights.

The crux of the story is that the fetal cells that remain in the mother mouse’s body appear to act like stem cells when they race to repair damage caused by a stroke in the mother’s body, which raises intriguing (but as yet still unclear) possibilities.

Read more….

Trafford dog leads the way for stem cell therapy for her arthritis

Dog benefits from stem cell therapy

A TIMPERLEY dog owner is delighted that she has one of the first first pets in the UK to benefit from stem cell therapy.

Janet Purser’s 10-year-old cocker spaniel, Lottie, was suffering from chronic arthritis in all four legs that caused her to limp.

But now, after the treatment, she no longer limps and she and ‘just wants to play’, said Janet.

 Trafford dog leads the way for stem cell therapy for her arthritis

Janet Purser with her dog Lottie

Janet asked her veterinary practice to refer her to John Innes at ChesterGates Referral Hospital in Chester as she was already aware of John’s pioneering work in the field of orthopaedics and believed that he would be aware of any new options that were available to Lottie. Janet didn’t have to wait long for their appointment and it was then that John told Janet about stem cell therapy – and she agreed to the surgery.

Lottie first went into ChesterGates to have her stem cells harvested. This was a simple procedure where adipose tissue (fat cells) were removed from Lottie’s flank. The adipose tissue was then sent to the lab at Veterinary Tissue Bank, where the stem cells were extracted, activated and then grown to make more stem cells. A few weeks later and Lottie’s stem cells had multiplied enough to have them re-injected back into her joints.

Janet said: “It was a straightforward procedure, Lottie only had to stay at ChesterGates for a couple of hours then she was able to return home.”


Read more…

A*STAR scientists create stem cells from drop of blood

 Stem cells from a single drop of blood

SINGAPORE: Scientists at A*STAR’s Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) have developed a method to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from a single drop of finger-pricked blood.

The new technique could potentially boost the number and diversity of donors, and facilitate the setting up of large-scale hiPSC banks, said the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in a news release on Thursday.

Current sample collection for reprogramming into human induced pluripotent stem cells include invasive methods, such as collecting cells from the bone marrow or skin, which may put off potential donors.

Although the stem cells may also be generated from blood cells, a large amount of blood is usually required.

But scientists at IMCB showed for the first time that single-drop volumes of blood are sufficient for reprogramming into human induced pluripotent stem cells.

As those cells show properties remarkably similar to human embryonic stem cells, they are invaluable for basic research, drug discovery and cell therapy.

The finger-prick technique is the world’s first to use only a drop of finger-pricked blood to yield hiPSCs with high efficiency.

The work is published online in the Stem Cell Translational Medicine journal.

Lead scientist for the finger-prick hiPSC technique Dr Jonathan Loh Yuin Han said, “Our finger-prick technique, in fact, utilised less than a drop of finger-pricked blood. The remaining blood could even be used for DNA sequencing and other blood tests.”

Senior consultant at the National Heart Centre Singapore and co-author of the paper, Dr Stuart Alexander Cook, said, “We were able to differentiate the hiPSCs reprogrammed from Jonathan’s finger-prick technique, into functional heart cells.”

The accessibility of the new technique is further enhanced with a DIY sample collection approach.

Donors may collect their own finger-pricked blood, which they can then store and send to a laboratory for reprogramming.

 SOURCE:

Proteins that control energy use necessary to form stem cells

Date:
March 20, 2014
Source:
University of Washington – Health Sciences/UW News, Community Relations & Marketing
Summary:

Two proteins that control how cells metabolize glucose play a key role in the formation of human stem cells. Studies suggest these proteins which also play a role in the process that transforms normal cells into cancer stem cells, might also be targets for new cancer therapies.

 

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Julie Mathieu (left), Hannele Ruohola-Baker, and Zsuzsa Agoston go over laboratory research results.

Two proteins that control how cells break down glucose play a key role in forming human stem cells, University of Washington researchers have found. The finding has implications for future work in both regenerative medicine and cancer therapy.

A report on this research appears online March 20 in the CELL journal Stem Cell. The paper’s lead authors are Julie Mathieu, a postdoctoral fellow at the UW, and Wenyu Zhou, a former graduate student at UW and now a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University. Hannele Ruohola-Baker, UW professor of biochemistry, is the paper’s senior author.

The researchers changed mature human cells to an earlier stem cell-like state by inserting genes for four proteins. This technique is called reprogramming.

These reprogrammed cells have the extraordinary ability to develop into any type of cell in the human body, a capacity called pluripotency. It is hoped that pluripotent stem cells, created from a person’s mature cells, will one day be used to form new tissues and organs to repair and replace those damaged by injury and disease.

During reprogramming, the cells change gears. They shut down the metabolic pathway for generating energy from glucose. This pathway requires the presence of oxygen in mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouses. The cells then shift over to the glycolytic pathway that generates less energy but does not require the presence of oxygen.

This shift may take place because, in nature, embryonic and tissue stem cells often must survive in low-oxygen conditions.

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STEM CELLS REPAIR, STRENGTHEN MUSCLES IN AGED MICE

elderly man age longevity STEM CELLS REPAIR, STRENGTHEN MUSCLES IN AGED MICEAs people age, they become less able to bounce back from injuries — a problem that adds risk to many of the common medical procedures the elderly face. At the same time, stem cells’ greatest promise is to allow people to produce new, healthy tissue to recover from illness or injury. But because stem cell therapies remain cutting edge, they have largely been used to target life-threatening problems such as heart failure.

Stanford’s Helen Blau, director of the Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology, studies a more banal, but also more ubiquitous, use of stem cells in the body: helping muscles repair themselves. The lab’s most recent findings suggest that stem cell therapy could be used to help older patients recover from muscular injuries, for example from falls, or perhaps even weakness following surgery.

blau cosgrove 021614 STEM CELLS REPAIR, STRENGTHEN MUSCLES IN AGED MICE

Brian Cosgrove and Helen Blau stem cells repair muscles

At a biological level, the stem cells that repair muscle damage lose their ability with age to generate new muscle fibers. But the older stem cells can be spurred to function like younger cells.

Studying stem cells from elderly mice, Blau’s team found that the environment inside the muscle becomes less conducive for stem cells and the cells themselves become less productive as the mice age.

A biological process called the p38 MAP kinase pathway, which cues stem cells to become muscle progenitor cells, seemed to account for the older stem cells’ diminished productivity. So the researchers administered a drug to safeguard the cells against that process and then allowed them to proliferate in a gooey hydrogel base.

When these stem cells were re-introduced into the elderly mice, the animals became stronger.

“We were able to show that transplantation of the old treated muscle stem cell population repaired the damage and restored strength to injured muscles of old mice.

Lab mouse mg 3263 STEM CELLS REPAIR, STRENGTHEN MUSCLES IN AGED MICE

Published in Nature Medicine

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Stem cell treatment, other breakthroughs giving pets longer, healthier lives

Action News 5 – Memphis, Tennessee

More than 60 percent of American households include at least one pet, and for many of us they are more like family than a four-legged friend.

Eight-year-old Sadie suffers from debilitating arthritis. To owners Greg and Marsha James, she is a miracle dog.

“She’s my little girl, she’s my baby,” said owner Marsha. “I didn’t know if we could do anything and what we could do, I thought we were gonna lose her.”

Last year she could not even walk, but a scientific breakthrough using her own stem cells put the pep back in her step.

“Stem cell is used to treat chronic arthritic conditions,” said Dr. Kathy Mitchener, DVM at Angel Care Center for Pets.

Dr. Kathy Mitchener removed a few ounces of fat from Sadie’s tummy; a lab extracted the stem cells, which were then re-injected into her trouble spots.

“If there’s joint destruction, if there’s changes in metabolism then they change themselves and multiply to help address those issues,” said Mitchener.

Stem cell treatment proves to be just one of many medical miracles at the Angel Care Cancer Center for Pets in Bartlett.

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Stem cell transplants may help treat degenerative disc disease

Stem cells effective in halting degenerative disc disease

Stem cell transplants was found to be viable and effective for halting or reversing degenerative disc disease in the spine, based on research conducted at the Mayo Clinic and presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine Annual Meeting.

Recent developments in stem cell research made it possible to assess the effect of this therapy on intervertebral disc (IVD) height, investigators from the Mayo Clinic stated in a press release about their presentation.

“This landmark study draws the conclusion in pre-clinical animal studies that stem cell therapy for disc degenerative disease might be a potentially effective treatment for the very common condition that affects people’s quality of life and productivity,” Wenchun Qu, MD, PhD, one of the authors, stated in the release.

Recent developments in stem cell research made it possible to assess the effect of this therapy on intervertebral disc (IVD) height, investigators from the Mayo Clinic stated in a press release about their presentation.

“This landmark study draws the conclusion in pre-clinical animal studies that stem cell therapy for disc degenerative disease might be a potentially effective treatment for the very common condition that affects people’s quality of life and productivity,” Wenchun Qu, MD, PhD, one of the authors, stated in the release.

Qu noted in the press release that in the animal trials that he and his colleagues reviewed for their research, disc height increased and stem cell transplant led to increased disc water content. The introduction of stem cells also improved appropriate gene expression.

“These exciting developments place us in a position to prepare for translation of stem cell therapy for degenerative disc disease into clinical trials,” Qu stated.

The researchers performed a literature search of MEDLINE, EMBASE and PsycINFO databases for the study and manually searched reference lists for original, randomized, controlled trials on animals that examined the association between IVD stem cell transplant and changes in disc height.

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Stem Cells Possess Mechanical Memory

Stem cells have mechanical memory

Human stem cells can remember whether researchers have grown them on a soft bed of polyethylene glycol or on a stiff floor of polystyrene. This mechanical memory in turn influences the fate of these stem cells, such as whether they start differentiating into bone or fat cells.

That’s one take-home message of a presentation given on March 16 by University of Colorado materials scientist Kristi Ansethat the American Chemical Society meeting in Dallas. The work, which Anseth described to the Division of Biochemical Technology, is also the subject of a recent report in Nature Materials (2014, DOI: 10.1038/nmat3889).

Stem cell researchers already attempt to control differentiation by carefully selecting the chemical constituents in their stem cell growth media. The new results suggest that they should also consider the physical constraints of this growing environment, Anseth and her colleagues argue.

“Just as you would dose stem cells with chemical factors over time to direct differentiation, researchers should add the properties of the mechanical environment to their laboratory repertoire,” comments Wilhelm Huck, who studies cellular growth conditions at Radboud University, in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Researchers previously had evidence that stem cells grow best in environments mimicking the stiffness or softness of their natural niche, Huck says. But he adds, “Nobody had studied whether cells could shake the memory of their past environments.”

Anseth’s team studied human mesenchymal stem cells, one of three major groups of human stem cells. They found two proteins, called YAP and TAZ, that can modulate the cells’ mechanical memory. Both can activate gene transcription.

When the stem cells are cultured on stiff beds, these proteins relocate from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. If the stem cells spend just a few days on soft or stiff beds, the future impact of this mechanical history is not set in stone. But spending 10 days on a particular bed leads to irreversible future differentiation of the stem cells into stiff-environment-loving bone or soft-loving fat cells.

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Ottawa man’s stem-cell transplant set-back

image Ottawa man’s stem cell transplant set back

Ottawa-native, Chris Taylor, is riding an emotional roller coaster.

Taylor was first diagnosed with Leukemia 2 years ago. Chemotherapy worked but the cancer soon returned. Without a stem-cell transplant, doctors fear his cancer will keep coming back.

Taylor is a business partner at the Crazy Horse Grill in Kanata, and he manages Grace O’Malley’s pub in Toronto. In October, his friends and colleagues held swabbing parties, hoping to find him a stem-cell match.

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In Canada, the OneMatch registry is looking for male donors aged 17 to 35. For those who do match someone in need, the procedure isn’t painful; in most cases it’s similar to donating blood.

In November, Taylor was told his match had been found.  Days before the transplant, the donor suffered a medical complication that made him unable to donate.

Taylor was put back on the list, and a second donor was found. A new transplant date was set for early April. Suddenly, that donor has backed-out. The circumstances surrounding that decision remain confidential.

“There are a lot of reasons why somebody could (back-out), so I can’t judge,” says Taylor, “Who am I to judge anyway. I have to stay positive for my own fight.”

Right now Taylor’s cancer is in remission, he only hopes to find another match before it returns.

“If the cancer comes back we are in trouble,” explains Taylor. “We can’t do the transplant that’s the problem. The patient has to be in remission, that’s why the clock is ticking.”

CTV’s Natalie Pierosara will have more on this story tonight at six.

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