Dr. Mildred C. Embree and her team at the Columbia College of Dental Medicine have discovered stem cells that can facilitate the growth of cartilage and repair damaged joints. The fibrocartilage found in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in the jaw bone does not readily regrow or heal itself – hence, researchers worked to manipulate the stem cells that reside in the TMJ to regenerate cartilage and repair the joint.
A published report in Surgical Technology International cites the benefits of using autologous [the patient’s own] mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] to effectively treat degenerative disc disease (DDD). The study also found that the use of stem cells to augment spinal fusion surgery demonstrated an efficacy that met the gold standard for iliac crest bone graft in posterolateral fusion models.
Scientists from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan have recently grown skin tissue from transformed stem cells. Their work demonstrated an advancement from previous efforts to grow skin in that the transplanted stem cells developed as integumentary tissue – the tissue between the outer and inner skin, which holds the functional properties of the skin, including sweat glands and hair follicles.
Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic [a member of StemSave’s Scientific Advisory Council] and her colleagues at Columbia University have created living jaw bone from stem cells paving the way for regenerative therapies in facial reconstruction. Using a CT scan to create a 3D image of each jaw, the team created a scaffold that, when infused with stem cells, formed new bone identical to the original.
StemSave is once again sponsoring the International Conference on Dental and Craniofacial Stem Cells [ICDCSC]. This is the 3rd conference since the inaugural conference of 2012 and will be held on October 20-28 in Paris, France. The conference will be co-chaired by Dr. Jeremy Mao of Columbia University [StemSave’s Chief Scientific Advisor] and Dr. Michael Goldberg of University Paris Descartes. They will be joined by 30 internationally renowned speakers in a collegial and conducive atmosphere to catalyze the biology of stem cell research and translational advances towards therapeutics.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a system that uses differentiated human stem cells to expedite the testing of existing drugs that might work against rare cancers. By transforming human stem cells into an aggressive form of pediatric brain cancer, medulloblastoma, they can be compared to cancer cells already tested against existing drugs.
Researchers, led by Dr. Markus Kuehn of the University of Iowa, are developing a regenerative procedure utilizing stem cells to restore proper drainage for fluid-congested eyes at risk for glaucoma. The injection of stem cells into the eyes of mice with glaucoma led to the proliferation of cells within the trabecular meshwork, a patch of tissue in the eye that serves as a drain for the eyes to avoid fluid buildup.
Dr. John Szivek, a researcher from the University of Arizona, is growing cartilage from stem cells. The process would utilize the patient’s own stem cells. The grown cartilage would be used to repair arthritic related damage, both small and large, and may one day eliminate the need to put plastics and/or metals in patient’s joints.
Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists have a potential development to improve tumor treatments using oncolytic, cancer-killing, viruses. Khalid Shah and his team turned to mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] to house the oncolytic viruses because they trigger a minimal immune response against the virus. The addition of a gel encompassing the MSCs keeps them alive longer to expedite the debulking, or removal, of the tumor. The investigators report that applying the gel-encapsulated MSCs to glioblastoma multiforme, the most common brain tumor in human adults, significantly improved survival in mice.
Rachel Okolicsanyi, a scientist from the Genomics Research Centre at QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, is manipulating mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] to produce neural cells which can be used to treat brain damage. By introducing different chemicals to specific proteins found in stem cells, researchers can determine which chemicals facilitate, or prohibit, their potential to differentiate into neural cells. This advancement in the understanding of how stem cells can be directed will accelerate the development of treatments for brain damage, specifically from strokes and trauma.