Can stem cells really restore your youthful looks?

While the actor/actress may have had stem cell therapy, the outward appearance is most likely a combination of Botox, plastic surgery, a strict diet and a personal trainer.

While the actor/actress may have had stem cell therapy, the outward appearance is most likely a combination of Botox, plastic surgery, a strict diet and a personal trainer.

When an aging Hollywood action star or sex symbol reemerges after a long hiatus looking younger, with a great body and smoother, firmer facial skin, people now assume they have undergone stem cell therapy.

In my interview with doctors Eric and Anna Yalung of Regenestem Manila, they set me straight. While the actor/actress may have had stem cell therapy, the outward appearance is most likely a combination of Botox, plastic surgery, a strict diet and a personal trainer. So no doctor who only offers you stem cell can promise you outwardly beautifying results.

This is not to say though that there are no beauty benefits from it. For the beauty aspect, they do this for facial skin rejuvenation and hair growth. According to head dermatologist Anna Yalung, they inject the target area and, if necessary, combine it with services available at the clinic for best results and to speed up the process.

Shots are spaced a week to a month apart depending on treatment requirement for three sessions. The follow-up is scheduled the following year.

How is it done? Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a convenient and cell-based treatment. It is a simple procedure involving the extraction of blood, separation of platelets and administering the PRP to the desired area.

This is done in order to stimulate or promote healing, collagen synthesis for anti-aging, or to deliver proper oxygenation to muscles or tissues. A crucially important function of platelets is the release of various growth factors responsible for almost all repair processes that occur in the body.Dr. Eric Yalung, who has conducted PRP treatments with Dr. Joseph Purita, world-renowned pioneer in stem cell orthopedic surgery, will spearhead PRP therapy for arthritis, sports injuries, anti-aging, hair growth, facial rejuvenation and pain management. Yalung clears that it is not a cure-all. It won’t make you thinner or outwardly younger by itself. Its main purpose is improving the quality of one’s life and the highest success rates are for those who are suffering from osteoarthritis; degenerative diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s; sports injuries and pain management.

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“Stress-Induced” Stem Cell Findings Are Retracted

controversial stem cell work


Stem cell findings retracted

Nature today retracted two controversial papers on stem cells that it published in January. The retractions — agreed to by all of the co-authors — come at the end of a whirlwind five months during which various errors were spotted in the papers, attempts to replicate the experiments failed, the lead author was found guilty of misconduct, and the centre where she is employed was threatened with dismantlement. The retraction notice includes a handful of problems with the papers that had not been previously considered by institutional investigation teams.Questions remain over what exactly was the basis for claims that embryonic-like stem cells could be created by exposing bodily cells to stress — a technology the authors called stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP. But the controversy promises to have lasting impact on science in Japan, global stem-cell research, and the scientific community more broadly — including changes in editorial policy at Nature. An Editorial posted today with the retractions notes the need for improvements in publishing procedures: “The episode has further highlighted flaws in Nature’s procedures and in the procedures of institutions that publish with us.” (Nature’s news and comment team is editorially independent of its research editorial team.)The first of the two papers described a method of using acid exposure or physical pressure to convert spleen cells from newborn mice into pluripotent cellscells that can become any cell in the body. The second paper further impressed stem-cell scientists with data showing that the STAP process created cells that could differentiate into placenta cells, something that other pluripotent stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, do not normally do.But within weeks, duplicated and manipulated images were discovered, focusing attention on the source of data provided by Haruko Obokata, a biochemist at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe and first author on both papers. Scientists also reported difficulties in replicating the experiments.Read more….

Stem cells: Hope on the line

A vote for stem cells

California is home to an unusual stem-cell agency: one that is funded by the state. Nature asked baseball fans if they’d vote for more funding.

On a brilliant day in April, tens of thousands of baseball fans stream past Jonathan Thomas’s stem cells agency, CIRM office towards AT&T Park for the first home game of the San Francisco Giants 2014 season. Thomas’s standing desk faces away from the window, but the cheering throngs are never far from his mind.

Stem cells agency needs to prove investment worthwhile

Thomas chairs the board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the US$3-billion agency hailed by scientists around the world for setting a benchmark for stem-cells research funding. But scientists will not be the ones who decide what becomes of CIRM when the cash runs out in 2017. Instead, it will be the orange-and-black-clad masses walking past Thomas’s window. And to win their support, Thomas knows that the agency needs to prove that their collective investment has been worthwhile. “We need to drive as many projects to the patient as soon as possible,” he says.

CIRM largest funder of stem cells work

Californians voted CIRM into existence in 2004, making it the largest funder of stem-cell work in the world. The money — the proceeds of bond sales that must be repaid with $3 billion in interest by taxpayers — helped to bring 130 scientists to the state, and created several thousand jobs there. It has funded research that led to the publication of more than 1,700 papers, and it has contributed to five early clinical trials.

The institute has navigated a difficult path, however. CIRM had to revamp its structure and practices in response to complaints about inefficiency and potential conflicts of interest. It has also had to adapt its mission to seismic shifts in stem cells science.

Now, ten years after taking off, the agency is fighting for its future. It has a new president, businessman Randal Mills, who replaces biologist Alan Trounson. Its backers have begun to chart a course for once again reaching out to voters, this time for $5 billion (with another $5 billion in interest) in 2016..

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Redlands 14-year-old undergoes stem cell transplant to treat diseases

On June 24, Julia underwent a rare autologous stem cell transplant to try to put a stop to her constant pain.

Julia Macleod, accompanied by her mother Linda, in her hospital bed awaiting an autologous stem cell transplant on June 24.

14 year old diagnosed with 2 autoimmune disorders

14-year-old Redlands girl Julia Macleod was diagnosed with two devastating auto-immune disabilities before she left elementary school.

Ankylosing spondylitis, a form of juvenile arthritis, developed when she was 7. At 9, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which affects the gastrointestinal tract. Both diseases typically have a harrowing and lasting effect on a person’s life.

“I didn’t really know what was happening,” 14- year- old Julia said. “I never heard of kids’ getting arthritis before. I always thought that it was something you got when you were an adult.”

It has been an arduous seven-year battle since then, complete with numerous stays in different hospitals and a trip to Washington, D.C., to educate lawmakers on the prevalence of childhood arthritis. Her condition had progressed to the point where she used a wheelchair.

On June 24, Julia underwent a rare autologous stem cell transplant to try to put a stop to her constant pain.

An autologous stem cell transplant is a procedure in which blood-forming stem cells (cells from which all blood cells develop) are removed, stored, and later given back to the same person.

According to Julia’s mother, Linda Macleod, Julia may be only the second patient in the country to undergo the procedure for Crohn’s disease.

After years of receiving treatment from different doctors, Julia was admitted to UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center in May under the care of Dr. David Ziring. Linda Macleod was recommended to Dr. Ziring by members of an online Crohn’s Disease community.

“I looked him up and we never looked back,” Linda said. “It was a smart move.”

At UCLA, Julia underwent chemotherapy, her stem cells were harvested and she was discharged on May 19. Julia returned to UCLA on June 17 for more doses of chemo before her stem cells were injected back into her.

Julia’s last dose of chemotherapy was on June 28, a milestone on her long road to recovery.

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Researchers regrow corneas using adult human stem cells


Boston researchers have successfully regrown cornea tissue using human stem cells– a feat that could potentially restore vision in the blind.

 The achievement also marks one of the first times that scientists have constructed tissue using adult-derived human stem cells.

Residing in the eye’s limbus – the border of the cornea and the whites of the eye – the limbal stem cells are responsible for maintaining and recreating corneal tissue.   Because of their regenerative ability, scientists have long hoped to harness these stem cells for regrowing human tissue in those with blindness due to corneal injury or disease.

The only problem? They’ve been rather difficult to track down.

“[The corneal tissue] – this is a tissue that has inherent turnover capacity; the cells are being shed and being replaced continuously,” lead researcher Dr. Markus Frank, of Boston Children’s Hospital, told “This capacity to restore is produced by the limbal stem cell population, and while it’s known that such cells exist, the identity and their exact molecular markers…have not been known.”

Frank’s lab originally discovered the crucial ABCB5 molecule over 10 years ago, finding that it was present in skin and intestine precursor cells.  But more recently, his team revealed that ABCB5 was also an important component of the eye’s limbal stem cells, preventing them from undergoing apoptosis – or cell death.

To further prove ABCB5’s role in the eye, Frank and his team created two groups of mice – ones lacking a functional ABCB5 gene and ones with a fully functioning ABCB5 gene.  The mice lacking ABCB5 lost their population of limbal stem cells and were unable to repair injuries to their corneas.

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Stem cell type resists chemotherapy drug

A new study shows that adipose-derived human stem cells, which can become vital tissues such as bone, may be highly resistant to the common chemotherapy drug methotrexate (MTX).

Ten days after treatment with a medically appropriate dose of the chemotherapy drug MTX, adipose-derived stem cells, left, survive while normal human fibroblasts, right, are impaired. Insets show untreated control cells. Credit: Darling lab/Brown University

A new study shows that adipose-derived human stem cells, which can become vital tissues such as bone, may be highly resistant to the common chemotherapy drug methotrexate (MTX). The preliminary finding from lab testing may prove significant because MTX causes bone tissue damage in many patients.
MTX is used to treat cancers including acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer. A major side effect of the therapy, however, is a loss of . Other  building stem cells, such as bone marrow derived stem cells, have not withstood MTX doses well.

“Kids undergo chemotherapy at such an important time when they should be growing, but instead they are introduced to this very harsh environment where  are damaged with these drugs,” said Olivia Beane, a Brown University graduate student in the Center for Biomedical Engineering and lead author of the study. “That leads to major long-term side effects including osteoporosis and bone defects. If we found a stem cell that was resistant to the chemotherapeutic agent and could promote bone growth by becoming bone itself, then maybe they wouldn’t have these issues.” Stem cell survivors Originally Beane was doing much more basic research. She was looking for chemicals that could help purify adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) from mixed cell cultures to encourage their proliferation. Among other things, she she tried , figuring that maybe the ASCs would withstand a drug that other cells could not. The idea that this could help cancer patients did not come until later. In the study published online in the journal Experimental Cell Research, Beane exposed pure human ASC cultures, “stromal vascular fraction” (SVF) tissue samples (which include several cell types including ASCs), and cultures of human fibroblast cells, to medically relevant concentrations of chemotherapy drugs for 24 hours. Then she measured how those cell populations fared over the next 10 days. She also measured the ability of MTX-exposed ASCs, both alone and in SVF, to proliferate and turn into other tissues. Beane worked with co-authors fellow center member Eric Darling, the Manning Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology, and research assistant Vera Fonseca. Read more….

Controversial stem-cell creation method retracted

Dr. Charles Vacanti of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston is the senior author of one paper and a coauthor of the second.

Dr. Charles Vacanti of Brigham and Women’s Hospital – stem cell discovery withdrawn

Stem cell discovery withdrawn

A bombshell stem cell discovery by Boston and Japanese scientists was withdrawn Wednesday by the journal that published the work — amid allegations of fraud and a tide of incredulity from outside scientists.

The journal Nature published a retraction notice pulling both papers, citing the results of a Japanese investigation that found evidence of scientific misconduct and listing five additional errors including misrepresented or mislabeled images and “inexplicable discrepancies” that raise questions about how the cells were created.

The authors apologized for the mistakes in the articles reporting the creation of what they called STAP stem cells, writing, “These multiple errors impair the credibility of the study as a whole and we are unable to say without doubt whether the STAP-SC phenomenon is real.”

In two papers published in January, the researchers claimed they had created powerful stem cells, capable of becoming any organ or tissue in the body, simply by dipping white blood cells from young mice in an acid bath. The stunning result generated enormous excitement, because it pointed to an easy and fast technique for creating stem cells, which are seen as potential therapies for diseases ranging from type 1 diabetes to heart failure.

But almost immediately, other scientists began questioning aspects of the work. Key authors of the papers publicly called for them to be withdrawn, especially after an investigation by the RIKEN Institute, a Japanese research center, found evidence of fraud by one of its scientists, Haruko Obokata, who led the work.

The official decision to withdraw the research depended on the agreement of all 14 of the scientists who contributed. Dr. Charles Vacanti of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, the senior author of one paper and a coauthor of the second, had not publicly said he agreed until now
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Stem Cells Halt MS for Two Years

Harold L. Atkins, M.D., B.Med.Sc. FRCP(C)

Harold Atkins treated Jennifer Molson’s MS

At 21, multiple sclerosis (MS) had Jennifer Molson “wheelchair bound.” But since her stem cell transplant, she has worked, driven, danced at her own wedding.

The story had a room of 1,000 professional stem cell scientists sniffling  at the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) meeting—said sniffling reaching a crescendo when the quiet, pretty Molson concluded: “I’m living proof stem cells can save lives.”

Diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS, Molson had failed many standard treatments when she tried a hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT, or bone marrow transplant (BMT)) in 2002, as part of a clinical trial.

That trial, first reported on in 2013 by three Canadian centers, has seen dramatic results: noneof the trial’s 14 immuno-monitoring sub-study patients saw remissions in the first two years. The transplants halted all new focal inflammatory MS disease, verified by both medical examinations and brain MRI’s. A paper on a larger cohort of 24 patients is being compiled.

There have been 500 MS HSCTs worldwide. MS is an inflammatory autoimmune disease in which the immune system is thought to attack its own nervous system via the myelin protecting nerve fibers.

Results globally have been mixed. Indeed, Molson’s doctors, Ottowa Hospital’s Harold Atkins and Mark Freedman, wrote in a2012 review that “although a few patients have had dramatic improvements after HSCT, most reports of improvement are modest.”

Not so in this study. One reason, Atkins conjectured in a recent email to Bioscience Technology: a more intense regimen than usual was used to wipe out the immune system of Molson and the other Canadian patients.

Globally, the trend was toward more “non-myeloablative” approaches. But while gentler, these may not ablate enough immune cells trained on attacking “self-antigen.” Self-antigen are proteins on cells marking them as “self.”

“I suspect, but it is hard to prove, that the high-dose chemotherapy we use dampens the ability of the immune system to react,” said Atkins, an Ottowa Hospital Blood and Marrow Transplant Program transplantation expert, in his email. “This reduces the robust immune response to antigens in these autoimmune patients to a more `normal’ reactivity.”

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Special birthday present: Stem cell donor returns to Goltry

GOLTRY, Okla. —

 Woman gives brother special birthday present

stem cell.jpg

Jeni Sumner poses with her brother, Ed Dee, in a Milwaukee hospital. Sumner donated stem cells to her brother, who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. (Photo provided)

A Goltry-area woman is back on Oklahoma soil after traveling to Milwaukee to give her brother a special birthday present.

Jeni Sumner was the only match among family members tested to donate stem cells to her younger brother, who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia last year.

Ed Dee’s cancer went into remission last October but returned earlier this year. Sumner said Dee’s doctors felt a stem cell transplant would be the best treatment.

Sumner spoke by phone about the events of the past week, as she prepared to return to Oklahoma on Thursday morning.

The transplant began at 2:07 p.m. Tuesday — Dee’s birthday — and took about an hour, she said.

“We had a little birthday party for him and then he got my present,” Sumner said.

Prior to the transplant, Dee went through chemotherapy and had a “conditioning treatment,” which Sumner said entailed the doctors wiping out his immune system and blood levels.

Sumner had to give herself injections over four days to make her bone marrow produce more stem cells and push them into her blood.

“Those went really well,” she said.

The stem cell retrieval process was on Monday.

“The stem cell retrieval went perfect. I mean, I gave enough stem cells that I didn’t have to come back the second day,” she said.

Sumner said a line was put in her right arm to draw the blood out. The blood went through a machine — to separate the stem cells from her blood — before it was returned to her body through another line in her left arm.

“The hardest part was I had to remember I couldn’t bend my arms,” she said.

From start to finish, the retrieval process took a little more than five hours.

“You’re laying in a nice comfortable bed, I had friends and family and everybody there, there’s TVs,” Sumner said. “They warm your blood before they put it back into you, so I wasn’t even cold.

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New stem cells via identity theft and reprogramming

Jose Polo and Donald Metcalf. Credit: Mark Coulson/NSCFA

Jose Polo is unravelling the details of how stem cells can be produced from adult cells through a mix of identity theft and reprogramming

Jose Polo is unravelling the details of how stem cells can be produced from adult cells through a mix of identity theft and reprogramming. It is work that needs to be done before such stem cells can be used safely in medicine.

In recognition of his leadership in stem cell research, Associate Professor Polo of Monash University has received an inaugural $50,000 Metcalf Prize from the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

The award is named for Australia’s pioneering stem cell researcher, Professor Donald Metcalf, AC, of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, who is an internationally renowned expert on haematopoiesis or blood cell formation.

Jose’s work is unveiling the development of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells —stem cells generated from skin, liver, blood or any other body cells. It is an important step along a path which could lead to treating degenerative diseases and understanding some cancers.

“When talking about my work, I often use the analogy of a library, where the genes in the cells are the books,” says Jose. “Every cell is a library which contains the same set of books, but they differ in terms of which ones are open and which are closed—in blood vessel cells the books on blood vessels will be open, and in pancreatic cells the books on the pancreas. I want to find the mechanism that opens and closes those books.”

Jose has already made two major strides forward.

He has found that the properties of the iPS cells with which you end up, depend upon the kind of adult cell you start with. During cell development, changes—known as epigenetic changes—are imprinted on the genes of the cell. And at least some of these remain when the cell is reprogrammed back into an iPS cell. It retains an “epigenetic” memory of what it was.

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Put Swiss-Apple Stem Cells On Your Face Starting NOW

 Once upon a time, a ragtag bunch of Swiss scientists were hiking along the Alps when they happened upon a tree of apples so rare and spectacular that the fruit could sit for months without withering and even heal its own bruises if dropped. Naturally, their first thought was to take this magical fruit, cut it up, and put it all over their scientist faces to see how pretty it made them.

If that sounds a little too much like a fairy tale, that’s because (I’m pretty sure) it is. But, the key elements are real. PhytoCellTec Malus Domestica, a stem cell derived from the Uttwiler Spatlauber apple, has become one of the buzziest skin-care ingredients of the last few years — and with good reason. Because, if you follow those scientists’ lead and put them all over your face, these crazy Swiss cells will indeed make you super, duper pretty.

I’d read a little of the hype around Swiss-apple stem cells on this and other sites, but the term always flew over my head and into the realm of Crazy Skin Products That Cost More Than A Car. Maybe Gwyneth and Kate Middleton can spend their pocket money on fairy-tale-science skin care, but I have a cat to support.

Then, last month on vacation in Vienna, I spotted a jar of cream labeled “Swiss Apple Formula” at a Marionnaud (kind of like European Sephora). And, y’know how sometimes foreign money doesn’t feel like actual money? And, foreign beauty products always seem better than the ones you can get back home? Right, so I bought it. Plus, the matching serum

Smash cut to the next morning when I awoke, jet-lagged and haggard — but no! Jet-lagged, yes, but only haggard on the inside! My face looked as though it had slept for 11 hours andnot drunk four glasses of wine with dinner.

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Stem-cell advances leapfrog ethics debate

"IPS cells overcame the main ethical issues," namely the use of embryos some Americans consider sacred human life,

Kidney transplant patient Robert Waddell is shown in 2010 with his children. Waddell received bone marrow stem cells from the friend who donated the kidney in 2009. Waddell, a Catholic, would have opposed the use embryonic stem cells.
(Photo: Sam Upshaw Jr./C-J file photo )

Adult stem cells ever more promising

Recent strides in stem-cell research show adult stem cells to be ever-more-promising, many scientists say, quelling the controversy steeped in faith and science that has long surrounded embryonic stem cells.

In fact, University of Louisville researcher Scott Whittemore said the debate is almost settled.

“Realistically, (many scientists don’t use) the types of stem cells that are so problematic anymore,” he said, adding that adult stem cells can now be reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells. “The field has moved so fast.”

In addition to these genetically reprogrammed adult cells — known as induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS cells — scientists are on the cusp of being able to turn one type of cell into another in the body without using stem cells at all. They shared some of the latest research last week at the annual International Society for Stem Cell Research in Vancouver.

iPS cells overcame the main ethical issues,” namely the use of embryos some Americans consider sacred human life, said Brett Spear, a professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics at the University of Kentucky who uses iPS cells to model liver disease.

But other scientists argue that embryonic stem cell research remains important.

Embryonic stem cells a tool in search for cures

Dr. George Daley, director of the stem cell transplant program at Boston Children’s Hospital and past president of the research society, said embryonic cells are a tool in the search for cures.

While all stem cells offer the possibility of a renewable source of “replacement” cells and tissues, the various types promise to treat different conditions. “These are all different approaches,” he said, “and they are complementary, not competitive.”

In the study that 47-year-old patient Robert Waddell joined, led by Dr. Suzanne Ildstad, specially processed stem cells from kidney donors help recipients’ immune systems recognize donated organs as their own.

Waddell, who suffered from polycystic kidney disease, was successfully weaned off all anti-rejection medicines a year after his kidney transplant in 2009. A Catholic, he avoided the ethical dilemma of using embryonic stem cells by getting bone marrow cells donated from a friend.

“Hopefully, my kidney will stay healthy in the long run,” he said. “Right now, I feel better and younger than I did before.”

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Cancer uses stem cells as a shield to escape drug attacks

Chemotherapy is one of the most important treatments for all types of cancer
Cancer cell to stem cells: the drugs are coming. delgrossodotcomCC BY-NC-SA

Chemotherapy important in cancer treatment

Chemotherapy is one of the most important treatments for all types of cancer. It involves the use of drugs that kill abnormally Cancer cell to stem cells: the drugs are coming The therapy uses one or more drugs in combination and has been practised since the 1950s, along with surgery and radiation therapy.

But chemotherapy does not always work. Doctors observe that even if the treatment is initially successful, patients often suffer a relapse. Sometimes this happens even after multiple sessions of chemotherapy. It seems some cancer cells manage to escape and hide within the body, allowing the disease to eventually return.

Cancer cells kidnap patient’s own stem cells

A recent study published in the journal Cancer Cell throws light on how cancer cells manage to dodge chemotherapy. Deng-Li Hong, professor of pathophysiology at Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, and his colleagues discovered that some cancer cells kidnap the patient’s own stem cells.

With the onset of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Deng-Li and his associates found that some cancer cells hide in the bone marrow, where blood stem cells are located. Inside the bone marrow, their aim is to find some way to become resistant to cancer drugs, which they manage by the interaction of a series of proteins.

First, cancer cells give off signalling proteins called cytokines, which attract certain kinds of stem cells known as mesenchymal stem cells. After luring them, cancer cells form a nest within the stem cells and coax them to grow.

Cancer cells are aiming to harvest a special protein, called furin, from those mesenchymal stem cells. Furin has the unique ability to activate other proteins by chewing away useless parts of a protein, fine-tuning its structure and switching it on. Cancer cells use furin from the hostage stem cells to activate the master protein GDF15. GDF15 then activates the cancer cell’s defense system, making it resistant to chemotherapy.

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Production of Cultured Stem Cells Using Nanotopography

Published on June 25, 2014 at 11:40 PM

Introduction to stem cells

Stem cells are undifferentiated biological cells that can differentiate into specialized cells and can divide to produce more stem cells. In the human body, stem cells exist in a complex microenvironment called the niche, which regulates stem cell quiescence, self-renewal and differentiation. They are used by the body to respond to regenerative need and thus are a target cell type in degenerative conditions of aging.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can differentiate into cartilage, bone, adipose and reticular lineages and can be easily separated from clinical samples for experimental research. They can even be isolated from patients and, after population expansion, be used as possible treatments following.

Stem cells have inherent phenotypical instability out of their niche – such as on tissue culture plastic. This makes them hard to expand in culture as they quickly differentiate into fibroblasts. Therefore, it is very difficult to grow large numbers of high-quality MSCs for autologous therapies.

Also, in pharmaceuticals and cell biological study lack of appropriate growth means that it is currently tricky to control e.g. MSC drug trials and basic research experiments properly.

Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Over the last few years, studies have provided a better understanding of how to control the differentiation of MSCs using material surface engineering, such as stiffness, chemistry, nanotopography, etc. These techniques are currently being used to control the growth of MSCs. Nanotopography has identified a distinct pattern that allows MSCs to grow and multiply without unwanted differentiation. This surface is called StemXpander (figures 1&2).

Since nanotopography obviates the need to modify chemistry or substrate stiffness, the product can be delivered in a familiar format. Additionally, injection moulding of the pattern into polystyrene facilitates production of multiwell plates, slides, tissue culture flasks and coverslips with excellent value and minimal changes to existing protocols.

In the human body, stem cells exist in a complex microenvironment called the niche, which regulates stem cell quiescence, self-renewal and differentiation

Figure 1. (A) Stem expander is fabricated incorporating nanoscale pits injection moulded into tissue culture polystyrene. (B) MSCs grown on the surface interact with many hundreds-thousands of nanopits as they spread and grow (at this magnification the nanopits appear as a background texture).


Figure 2. While the cells are much larger than tha nanopits, they have many membrane projections, filopodia, that can interact with nanoscale features. Filopodial interactions help to control cell adhesion and function as will be described.

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“Living Drug” Stem Cells to Fight Cancer, Blindness, HIV—and Infertility?

Top stem cell experts hail new techniques

Led by PBS’s Charlie Rose, top US stem cell experts this month hailed new clinic-bound techniques designed to persuade “aspects of the body to cure itself,” as New York Stem Cell Foundation head Susan Solomon put it.

The main technique hailed involves making stem cells from adult cells, then forging those into armies of robust, proliferating, specialized cells that may let people essentially cure their own blindness; kill their own tumors; and, as Cornell Center for Reproductive Medicine chief Zev Rosenwaks noted, “obliterate” their own infertility.

“Clearly there is enormous hope,” Rose told the standing-room-only crowd at the Ansary Stem Cell Symposium in New York City. “The people in this room” shoulder “enormous responsibility for the future of medicine.”

The meeting’s “topic du jour” was the “induced pluripotent stem cell” (iPSC) technique, in which researchers create replicating, multi-potent stem cells out of limited adult cells. Harvard University hematologist George Daley noted the first IPSC trial was launched last year–fittingly, in Japan. IPSCs were first created there, in the Osaka University lab of developmental biologist Shinya Yamanaka. In 2007, Yamanaka showed he created human iPSCs by genetically tweaking only four genes. Ever since, researchers have been creating iPSCs, studying them, and trying to turn them into armies of rejuvenated adult cells.

It has not been easy. The cells often don’t dedifferentiate fully, and can go tumorous. But enough finessing has apprently occurred that some researchers are comfortable launching the world’s first iPSC clinical trial, which began enrollment in Japan last year. The aim is to help heal damaged retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells in macular degeneration patients. In that trial, RPE cells made from iPSCs will be transplanted.

Another reason the first IPSC trial is occurring in Japan, said Solomon: “Japan’s equivalent of the NIH” is so excited about iPSCs that it is “streamlining” some regulations to fast-track progress to the clinic.

Daley noted there is reason to be optimistic about that trial. The same RPE transplantation approach earlier hit the clinic using human embryonic stem cells (ES cells) with “encouragingresults.”

“Drugs and surgery don’t treat degenerative diseases,” he said. But stem cells—both native and created—can. “It is a paradigm shift. The notion that cells are stable entities has changed.”

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I really was in Dire Straits… but now I’ve beaten the cancer I hid for 15 years: John Illsley tells for the first time how he was saved from chronic leukaemia

When John Illsley took to the stage of the Shepherd’s Bush Empire for a charity  gig in 2002, the founding member  of Dire Straits belted out bass  and backing vocals on classic  hits Money For Nothing and Romeo And Juliet.

But unknown to the audience and his bandmate, singer Mark Knopfler, just days before John had undergone his first round of chemotherapy for leukaemia, a condition he has now had – and kept secret – for 15 years.

Today, John – tall, tanned and with a mane of greying hair – is sitting in his studio in Hampshire strumming a guitar. Yet it’s a near-miracle his latest album, called Testing The Water, was ever recorded.

Keeping secrets: John Illsley, bassist in Dire Straits, kept his leukaemia a secret for 15 years, and has now finally been given the all-clear this year

Keeping secrets: John Illsley, bassist in Dire Straits, kept his leukaemia a secret for 15 years, and has now finally been given the all-clear this year

The tune he’s playing, Railway Tracks, was composed in hospital  in January 2011 where he endured an agonising wait to find out whether  a stem cell transplant – which used to be called a bone marrow transplant – had worked. He and his family knew this was his last chance of survival.

It is only now that John finally feels ready to share his ordeal in order to thank his sister Pat, who donated her stem cells, and to raise awareness for Anthony Nolan, the UK’s blood cancer charity and bone marrow register.

‘I know how lucky I have been in finding a tissue match within my family,’ says John. ‘There are thousands of others who rely on the kindness of strangers for this life-saving treatment.’

After Dire Straits broke up in 1995 – the band had sold an astonishing 120 million albums and spent 1,100 weeks in the album charts – John embarked on ‘a quiet life’ in the  New Forest with partner Stephanie.

He painted and helped care for his two youngest children, Harry, then aged three, and Deedee, who was just seven months old.

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Longer Survival in Myeloma with Early Therapy

overall survival was 85% in patients who underwent stem cell transplantation as consolidation therapy

Survival in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma improved significantly in patients who underwent early autologous stem cell transplantation

MILAN — Survival in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma improved significantly in patients who underwent early autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT), according to pooled data from two randomized trials.

The 4-year overall survival was 85% in patients who underwent stem cell transplantation as consolidation therapy versus 76% for those who had transplants after first relapse, reported Federica Cavallo, MD, PhD, of the University of Torino in Italy, and colleagues.

Median time to first progression (PFS1) was almost twice as long in patients who had early stem cell transplantation, and the time to second relapse also was significantly delayed by early transplantation, they said at the European Hematology Association meeting.

“All of these results put together show that autologous stem cell transplant still has a role in the treatment of newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients younger than 65 years,” Cavallo said. “The best starting point is at diagnosis.”

“We still must wait for results of ongoing clinical trials to see whether other chemotherapy combinations have the same results as those in our trials,” she added.

Historically, ASCT has improved survival in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma compared with chemotherapy. With the development of novel therapies for myeloma, the role and timing of ASCT have become less clear, Cavallo said. To examine the issues, investigators in two multicenter, randomized trials compared PFS and overall survival (OS) in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma treated with two different ASCT strategies.

In one trial, patients received lenalidomide (Revlimid)-based induction therapy plus ASCT consolidation or chemotherapy induction and lenalidomide consolidation therapy, followed by lenalidomide maintenance therapy or no maintenance.In the second trial, patients were randomized to the lenalidomide-ASCT strategy or to chemotherapy induction, lenalidomide consolidation, and maintenance therapy with lenalidomide-dexamethasone or lenalidomide alone.

Action Points

  • Note that this study was published as an abstract and presented at a conference. These data and conclusions should be considered to be preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Clarkson University Professors’ Research on Growing Spinal Discs Published in Prestigious Stem Cell Journal

Professors make history

Two professors made Clarkson University history when their research on stem cells was published in a prestigious journal from Cell Press.

Professor Thomas Lufkin, the Bayard and Virginia Clarkson Endowed Chair in Biology (left); and Research Assistant Professor of Biology Petra Kraus.

Clarkson University Professors’ Research on Growing Spinal Discs Published in Prestigious Stem Cell Journal

Professors Thomas Lufkin, the Bayard and Virginia Clarkson Endowed Chair in Biology, and Research Assistant Professor of Biology Petra Kraus published a research paper in Cell Stem Cell on transforming cells into embryonic stem cells.

Professors strive to publish in journals that have the highest impact factors which are cited many times per year, Lufkin said, and this is the first time anyone with an academic affiliation and currently working at Clarkson University has been published in a top-level Cell Press journal.

Lufkin said his research focuses on growing new spinal discs to replace those that have deteriorated and cause back pain. The paper examines how cells swabbed from a patient’s mouth or scraped from a patient’s arm can be turned into embryonic stem cells, which are then programmed to become spinal discs.

“In this case, the patient is the donor,” he said. “We won’t have to get tissue from somebody else and give it to you. There are no issues of graft rejection; it’s yours.”

Spinal discs can deteriorate and cause pain due to age or injury, Lufkin said. Back pain sufferers currently can choose to have the damaged disc removed and fuse the neighboring vertebrae, causing a loss of flexibility and increase stress on the adjacent discs. With regenerative medicine, he said, the old disc can instead be swapped out for a new one that is healthier and stronger.

“We’re hoping to help anybody that suffers from lower back pain and would like the option of having their disc replaced with one of their own that we’ve made in the laboratory,” he said.

Lufkin said many patients can benefit from this research, as Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on lower back pain treatment.

Read more….

Stem cell transplant for multiple sclerosis

EDMONDPamela Gooch is the first person in the world with progressing relapsing multiple sclerosis to receive a stem cell transplant.

Her new lease on life began on June 2, 2014.

“If there was a way to fight it I was going to do it,” says Gooch.

To really understand her story you have to go back to 2012.

She was involved in a car accident and made an appointment with an optometrist just a few days later.

“He looked at my eyes and said there is a real problem here,” says Gooch.

He told her she needed to get an MRI as soon as possible.

That’s when she got the news that would change things forever.

“He just said it flat out, you have multiple sclerosis,” says Gooch.

A neurologist later discovered she was suffering from progressing relapsing multiple sclerosis.

A rare form of the disease that makes everyday activities exhausting.

“I just thought I guess this is my new reality and I thought I am going to have to learn how to deal with it,” says Gooch.

But Gooch says a phone call from her aunt who had had a stem cell transplant for cancer made her think about things in a different way.

“She told me there was a clinical trial that was going on and it was just all at the right time,” says Gooch.

And before she knew it she was packing her bags to head to Chicago for the experimental procedure.

Her insurance was on board to pay the $125,000 fee but backed out during her stay.

But Gooch says you can’t stop what’s meant to be.

“So what the stem cell transplant did it resets the immune system so that your not attacking yourself anymore,” says Gooch.

Saturday night was the first time in her own bed and she says she’s already experiencing a new better reality.

“The fatigue just lifted off of me, it was a feeling I didn’t even recognize anymore, I had energy,” says Gooch.

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Riken provided wrong types of genetically modified mice to research institutes

Mice for experimental use (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Riken -provided wrong kind of mice

Riken provides wrong kind of mice

The Riken national research institute, now at the center of a controversy concerning the discovery of a new stem cell mechanism, has found itself in hot water again.

It provided the wrong type of genetically modified mice to research institutes, forcing them to scrap research results.

Riken provided 178 genetically modified mice that did not have specified gene patterns to 41 research institutes.

It is essential that the right type of transgenic mice are used in research on regenerative medicine, such as iPS cells. Any error could undermine the reliability of such studies.

The mice were provided by Riken BioResource Center, based in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. As Japan’s largest provider of laboratory mice, it has about 6,900 types of genetically modified mice for sale.

The center manages a variety of recombinant mice on commission from the laboratories that developed them. Client institutes use the center to purchase breeding pairs of the types of mice they need for experiments.

In a case that came to light in July 2013, a foreign university inquired about the suitability of mice it purchased from the center with a Japanese university, which genetically engineered them.

A Japanese researcher was found to have handed over the wrong types of mice to the Riken BioResource Center, officials there said.

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Healthcare New Highs: StemCells Inc (NASDAQ:STEM), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY), HCA Holdings Inc (NYSE:HCA)

StemCells Inc (NASDAQ:STEM)  reported positive interim results from its Phase I/II clinical trial of the Company’s proprietary HuCNS-SC(R) human neural stem cell platform in dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD) at the 12(th) annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) in Vancouver, Canada. StemCells Inc (NASDAQ:STEM)’s stock on June, 21, 2014,  reported a increase of 2.39% to the closing price of $2.14. Its fifty two weeks range is $1.15 -$2.34. The overall volume in the last trading session was 25.36 million shares. In its share capital, company has 55.51 million outstanding shares.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) has received an average recommendation of “Hold” from the sixteen brokerages that are covering the stock, Analyst RN reports. Two research analysts have rated the stock with a sell recommendation, five have issued a hold recommendation and eight have assigned a buy recommendation to the company. The average twelve-month target price among analysts that have updated their coverage on the stock in the last year is $40.07. On last trading day, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT)’s  stock traded at beginning with a price of $41.21 and throughout the trading session climbed at a high of $41.30 and later when day-trade ended the stock finally fell 0.37% to end at $40.85.

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), announced 12 new alliances with life science companies and research institutions around the globe to explore early-stage innovation in a broad range of therapeutic areas and across pharmaceuticals, medical device and diagnostics and consumer healthcare. On Friday, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), stock hit highest price at $105.48, beginning with a price of $104.37 and increased 1.41% to the close at $105.27 with day range of $104.07 – $105.48. The total market capitalization of the stock is $297.82 billion; total volume held in the session was 12.86 million shares which are greater than its average volume of 5.47 million shares.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) and Eli Lilly and Co (NYSE:LLY) announced the resubmission of a New Drug Application (NDA) for the investigational sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor empagliflozin for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).Read more….

Who owns your tissue? You’d be surprised

By Timothy Caulfield

Timothy Caulfield holds the Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta.

Who owns your tissue?

Who owns your tissue? Do you have a right to control what happens to your cells and all the information packed into your DNA?

Given the decades of tissue-based research and the billions of dollars invested in tissue banks and genetic research you would think we would have clear answers to these basic questions. But, in fact, the law has remained – at least until earlier this month – surprisingly foggy.

A court decision from Ontario brought some unexpected and (I will argue) less-than-ideal clarity to this situation. The court was asked to make a determination if, for the purposes of a procedural matter in a lawsuit involving a physician, human tissue provided by a patient is property and, if so, who owned it.

The conclusion? Yep, human tissue is a form of personal property. Not only that, once it is removed from a patient, it is owned by the hospital.

Now, we need to be careful not to overinterpret the case. It was focused on a relatively narrow procedural matter and does not have much precedential weight. Still, this is the first Canadian legal decision on point. It will be influential, if only in a symbolic sense. And it seems to say that, in Canada, once tissue is removed from your body you lose control over it.

So why is this a big deal?

Human tissue and cells valuable

Biomedical research is advancing at a remarkable pace. Thanks to areas such as genomics and stem-cell research, human tissue and cells have never been more valuable, both economically and clinically. Not only are they essential research tools, it is hoped that, one day, they will form the basis of a range of regenerative therapies.

At the same time, as the result of fast and relatively inexpensive sequencing technologies, it is now possible to extract a massive amount of genetic information from almost any bit of tissue. There are, to cite just one extreme example, plans to sequence the genome of King Richard III, a guy who has been in the ground since 1485.

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UCLA study sheds light on the development of lung cancer

Study shows stem cell growth factors can lead to pre cancerous lesions

UCLA researchers led by Dr. Brigitte Gomperts have discovered the inner workings of the process thought to be the first stage in the development of lung cancer. Their study explains how factors that regulate the growth of adult stem cells that repair tissue in the lungs can lead to the formation of precancerous lesions.

Findings from the three-year study could eventually lead to new personalized treatments for lung cancer, which is responsible for an estimated 29 percent of U.S. cancer deaths, making it the deadliest form of the disease.

Study published online

The study was published online on June 19 in the journal Stem Cell. Gomperts, a member of the UCLA Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research and the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, collaborated with Manash Paul and Bharti Bisht, postdoctoral scholars and co-lead authors of the study.

Adult stem cells in lung airways are present specifically to repair the airways after injury or disease caused by smoking, pollution, viruses or other factors. Gomperts and her team found that this reparative process is tightly regulated by molecules called reactive oxygen species, or ROS.

Recent research has shown that low levels of ROS are important for signaling the stem cells to perform important functions – such as repairing tissue damage – while high levels of ROS can cause stem cells to die. But the level of ROS needed for repair to be initiated has remained a subject of debate among researchers.

The UCLA study found that the dynamic flux of ROS from low to moderate levels in the airway stem cells is what drives the repair process, and that the increase in ROS levels in the repairing cell is quickly reduced to low levels to prevent excessive cell proliferation.

Gomperts’ lab found that disrupting this normal regulation of ROS back to low levels is equivalent to pulling the brakes off of the stem cells.
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Microbiota diversity linked to successful stem cell transplants


Microbiota diversity linked to successful stem cell transplants

JUNE 21, 2014



For patients receiving stem cell transplants, some simple but important precautions to promote the proliferation and diversity of microbiota (healthy gut bacteria) could be imperative. Recent research links this “friendly bacteria” to post-transplant stem cell survival rates.

The community of microorganisms in the digestive tract, also called “microbiota,” is an important part of the immune system because it wards off an armament of diseases.

In the study, published in the journal Blood, stool samples from 80 patients revealed that those with the most diverse microbiota have a 67 per cent rate of post-transplant stem cell survival rate, while for those with the least diversity that number dipped to 36 per cent.

“These results further underscore the significance of the gut microbiota in allogeneic stem cell transplant. A major question is whether we can improve outcomes by preserving diversity within the gut microbiota,” said senior study author Ying Taur, MD, MPH, of the Lucille Castori Center for Microbes, Inflammation, and Cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Maintaining diversity in the microbiota depends on a balanced diet.

Well-known to promote digestive health, fibre is a good starting point, found in whole grains, spinach, cauliflower, carrots, wheat bran, apples, broccoli, beans, figs and pears.

Fermented foods like yogurt are known to contain probiotics, which is essentially a lay term for microbiota.

Other foods like bananas, asparagus, onions and garlic have been identified “prebiotics,” as they contain fibre compounds that pass undigested through the stomach, promoting diversity in microbiota as they go.

Recent research says white bread might promote diversity in microbiota, potentially saving the food from its reputation tarnished by whole grains.

Read more….


Friday, June 20, 2014

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —

Stem cells grown in space may heal stroke

Can stem cells heal stroke? Hemorrhagic stroke is responsible for more than 30 percent of all stroke deaths. It happens when a weakened blood vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.

It’s something Jon Galvan experienced five years ago after he almost died from a hemorrhagic stroke while atSubmit work.

“I was typing away and I felt a pop in my head,” Galvan told Ivanhoe.

He was able to recover, but Abba Zubair, MD, PhD, Medical Director of Transfusion Medicine and Stem Cell Therapy at Mayo Clinic, Florida says not everyone is as fortunate.

“If it happens, you either recover completely or die,” Dr. Zubair told Ivanhoe. “That’s what killed my mother.”

SubmitDr. Zubair wants to send bone marrow derived stem cells to the international space station.

“Based on our experience with bone marrow transplant you need about 200 to 500 million cells,” Dr. Zubair said.

But conventionally grown stem cells take a month. Experiments on earth have shown that stem cells will grow faster in less gravity.

“Five to ten times faster, but it could be more,” Dr. Zubair said.

Specifically he hopes to expand the number of stem cells that will help regeneration of neurons and blood vessels in hemorrhagic stroke patients.

“I think this will revolutionize how we treat stroke patients, not only hemorrhagic but even the ischemic stroke,Submit which is much more common,” he said.

The stem cells will be taken to the international space station within a year. While one batch of cells is grown in space, another batch will be grown on earth; other than the appearance of gravity the growing environments will be the same. Dr. Zubair says if the lack of gravity proves to be a better environment for stem cell growth, then the next step will be to transform the cells into tissue, and ultimately organs. He envisions a future where replacement organs can be grown in space as well.


BACKGROUND: A brain hemorrhage is a stroke that is caused by an artery in the brain that bursts which causes bleeding in tissues around the brain. The effects on the brain lead to damaged brain cells. Brain hemorrhages make up 13 percent of strokes and can easily take the lives of affected patients. A cerebral edema occurs when blood from a trauma accident irritates brain tissues. This affects the tissue and reduces blood flow in the brain. (Source:

SYMPTOMS: Common symptoms of a brain hemorrhage depend on the location of the bleeding in the brain. Emergency attention needs to be brought to a doctor if any of these symptoms exist:

  • Severe headaches
  • Changes in vision
  • Loss of balance
  • Sudden seizures
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Abnormal sense of taste
  • Decreased alertness
  • Loss of consciousness


NEW TECHNOLOGY: There are currently no treatment options available to doctors or patients which can help regenerate the brain tissue damage caused by stroke. However, doctors at the Cleveland Clinic are looking at a way to use stem cells to solve the problem. But first they have to be able to grow enough stem cells quickly enough for such treatment to be viable. They’re currently planning to send stem cells to the International Space Station to have them grow in the microgravity environment in space. Experiments on earth have shown they may grow up to five or ten times faster in microgravity. This would allow massive numbers of stem cells needed for such treatments, between 200 and 500 million, to be grown much quicker than on earth. (Source: Dr. Abba Zubair, Mayo Clinic)

Culturing growth: How an idea from BC Cancer Agency grew into Canada’s biggest stem cell business venture

Culturing growth: How an idea from BC Cancer Agency grew into Canada’s biggest stem cell business venture

Dr. Allen Eaves is the CEO and president of Stemcell Technologies, which employs 500 people in Vancouver and nine other countries.

Stem cell research conference

The four-day annual conference of the International Society for Stem Cell Research ends Saturday after bringing about 3,300 scientists and business people from 55 countries to the Vancouver Convention Centre.

A Friday morning panel discussion on commercializing stem-cell advances included Dr. Allen Eaves, the CEO and president of Stemcell Technologies, a Vancouver-based company that’s the main sponsor of the event, which was held in Boston last year and is slated for Stockholm in 2015.

The trajectory of Stemcell Technologies, now the biggest company in the field in Canada, helps illustrate the state of the emerging industry, its potential and its roadblocks.

It started in the Terry Fox Lab

Eaves first made a name for himself as a cancer specialist and research scientist pioneering bone marrow transplants with a team from the Terry Fox Laboratory at the BC Cancer Agency (the team included his wife, Dr. Connie Eaves, who is still an active researcher at the agency.) The procedure that is now standard treatment for leukemia can involve a transplant from a comparable donor or use stem cells derived from the patient’s blood or marrow.

New cells created from stem cells

New cells created from stem cells — the so-called master cells of the body, which can transform into any type of body tissue — have to be grown in specialized material called tissue culture media.

Of necessity, the Terry Fox Lab started making this media to continue its work.

Taking it private

The BC Cancer Agency board suggested that Eaves continue the work of the media preparation unit outside of the Terry Fox Laboratory when he retired seven years ago under the compulsory retirement rules of the day. Eaves re-mortgaged his home and received about $1 million in grant money from the B.C. government to start Stemcell Technologies.

Read more….

Stem cells hold keys to body’s plan

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) researchers have discovered landmarks within pluripotent stem cells that guide how they develop to serve different purposes within the body.

This breakthrough offers the promise that scientists eventually will be able to direct stem cells in ways that prevent disease or repair damage from injury or illness.

Pluripotent stem cells are so named because they can evolve into any of the cell types that exist within the body. Their immense potential captured the attention of two accomplished faculty with complementary areas of expertise.

”We had a unique opportunity to bring together two interdisciplinary groups,” says co-senior author Paul Tesar, PhD, assistant professor of genetics and genome sciences at CWRU School of Medicine and the Dr. Donald and Ruth Weber Goodman Professor.

“We have exploited the Tesar lab’s expertise in stem cell biology and my lab’s expertise in genomics to uncover a new class of genetic switches, which we call seed enhancers,” says co-senior author Peter Scacheri, PhD, associate professor of genetics and genome sciences at CWRU School of Medicine. ”Seed enhancers give us new clues to how cells morph from one cell type to another during development.”

The breakthrough came from studying two closely related stem cell types that represent the earliest phases of development – embryonic stem cells and epiblast stem cells, first described in research by Tesar in 2007. ”These two stem cell types give us unprecedented access to the earliest stages of mammalian development,” said Daniel Factor, graduate student in the Tesar lab and co-first author of the study.

Olivia Corradin, graduate student in the Scacheri lab and co-first author, agrees. ”Stem cells are touted for their promise to make replacement tissues for regenerative medicine,” she says. ”But first, we have to understand precisely how these cells function to create diverse tissues.”

Enhancers are sections of DNA that control the expression of nearby genes. By comparing these two closely related types of pluripotent stem cells (embryonic and epiblast), Corradin and Factor identified a new class of enhancers, which they refer to as seed enhancers.

Read more….

Study finds key to identifying, enriching mesenchymal stem cells

Children's Research Institute finds key to identifying, enriching mesenchymal stem cells

Dr. Sean Morrison, UT Southwestern Medical Center. Credit: UT Southwestern mesenchymal stem cells study

The Children’s Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) has identified a biomarker that enables researchers to accurately characterize the properties and function of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in the body. MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) are the focus of nearly 200 active clinical trials registered with the National Institutes of Health, targeting conditions such as bone fractures, cartilage injury, degenerative disc disease, and osteoarthritis.

The finding, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell on June 19, significantly advances the field of MSC biology, and if the same biomarker identified in CRI’s studies with mice works in humans, the outlook for clinical trials that use MSCs will be improved by the ability to better identify and characterize the relevant cells.

“There has been an increasing amount of clinical interest in MSCs, but advances have been slow because researchers to date have been unable to identify MSCs and study their normal physiological function in the body,” said Dr. Sean Morrison, Director of the Children’s Research Institute, Professor of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. “We found that a protein known as leptin receptor can serve as a biomarker to accurately identify MSCs in adult bone marrow in vivo, and that those MSCs are the primary source of new bone formation and bone repair after injury.”

In the course of their investigation, the CRI researchers found that leptin receptor-positive MSCs are also the main source of factors that promote the maintenance of blood-forming stem cells in the  marrow.

“Unfortunately, many clinical trials that are testing potential therapies using MSCs have been hampered by the use of poorly characterized and impure collections of cultured cells,” said Dr. Morrison, senior author of the study and holder of the Mary McDermott Cook Chair in Pediatric Genetics at UT Southwestern.

“If this finding is duplicated in our studies with human MSCs, then it will improve the characterization of MSCs that are used clinically and could increase the probability of success for well-designed  using MSCs.”


Stem cell treatment used on horses could help human athletes

Stemcell treatment that helped Dream Alliance win the 2009 Welsh Grand National could help humans battle a crippling Achilles tendon disease

Stemcell treatment that helped Dream Alliance win the 2009 Welsh Grand National could help humans battle a crippling Achilles tendon disease Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Stem cell treatment used on horses may help humans

A stem cell treatment first used on racehorses could help humans battle a crippling Achilles tendon disease, scientists have revealed.

The existing treatment for Achilles tendinopathy which causes pain in the heel and tendon, helped a horse called Dream Alliance recover and go on to win the 2009 Welsh Grand National.

The study, published in the Lancet, shows how stem cells are taken from the sufferer and transplanted directly onto the damaged Achilles tendon.

Horses’ injury rate falls

With race horses the injury rate fell by 50 per cent since stem cell treatment became available.

Tendinopathy affects 85,000 people across the UK every year and can particularly effect among athletes. Non surgical treatments are limited, many are eventually forced to consider surgery.

The UK Stem Cell Foundation is funding the first ever human study which will involve 10 patients.

It is hoped that this could lead to access to a new treatment within three to five years.

Stem cells will be removed from each patient, expanded in the laboratory, then implanted onto the damaged tendon.

Andy Goldberg, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, who will lead the study, said: “There is a real need for effective, non-surgical treatments for Achilles Tendinopathy.

“We have seen stem cell……

Read more….

Stem cells in the commercial world: An interview with Stephen Elliman

A lot of stem cell research happens in universities and other academic centres, but companies will play an increasing role as research progresses towards new medical applications. To get a flavour of how small companies are getting involved with cell therapy research and the challenges they face, meet Stephen Elliman, Head of Research and Development at Orbsen Therapeutics. Our partners have spoken to Steve and you can read and watch on film some of the things he told us.

About Orbsen Therapeutics

The development of a new therapy is a complex process. Before any new treatment can be made available to patients, it needs to meet important standards of quality, safety and effectiveness laid out in regulations. These regulations are a key factor in shaping the approach to stem cell therapy being taken by the company Orbsen Therapeutics, based at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The company is focussed on developing therapies using cells called mesenchymal stromal cells. They obtain these cells mainly from the bone marrow and have been working to develop methods for identifying and isolating them to the high standard standards of purity needed for their future use in therapies. One way in which they are doing this is by identifying a marker for mesenchymal stromal cells – a tool for picking them out of a crowd of other cells. Cells carry many different proteins on their surface. If researchers can find such a surface protein that is unique to the type of cell they want, they can use it as a marker to identify just those cells. Using techniques like markers, Orbsen is working to isolate and define the mesenchymal stromal cells they are working with so that they will be able to develop a well-defined medical product using these cells, and to meet the safety and quality standards set by regulators.

Meet Steve Elliman: Head of Resarch and Development at Orbsen Therapeutics

EuroStemCell partner Kieran Ryan of the research centre REMEDI, and our collaborator Danielle Nicholson from EU-funded consortium REDDSTAReach spoke to Steve Elliman at Orbsen Therapeutics to find out more about the company’s work. We’ve combined clips from Kieran’s video interview with an article from Danielle to introduce you to Steve below.

What do you think is the most misunderstood concept or idea surrounding stem cell research?
The broadest, most misunderstood concept is that all stem cell research falls under the umbrella of embryonic stem cell research. This is a very specific, fascinating and promising area, focussed on cell replacement therapy. So the idea is that you take an embryonic stem cell and turn it into a tissue to replace the damaged or missing tissue with new embryonic stem cell-derived tissue. Cell replacement is very fascinating but challenging. To date there are few clinical trials funded and approved to use embryonic stem cell-derived tissues.We at Orbsen Therapeutics are focussed on adult, mesenchymal stromal cell therapy research – an immunomodulatory stromal cell therapy. Our cells are obtained from the bone marrow and once transplanted are not replacing anything. The aim is that they move to a site of tissue damage and release a plethora of protective substances that may dampen down an immune response.

Read more….