Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center are developing a stem cell treatment that can be utilized to treat hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) in children. By taking a new approach to make the right side of the heart stronger instead of replacing the damaged left side, researchers hope to engender a more permanent fix. The procedure would represent a significant advancement over current HLHS treatments; which include heart transplants and reconstructive procedures that only provide temporary relief.
Doctors Mark Foglietti and Michael Kellis of the Ohio Stem Cell Treatment Center are developing a treatment utilizing autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells to treat Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative disease that effects people who have been subjected to repeated blows to the head – such as NFL players – especially those whom experienced multiple concussions.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburg School of Medicine are utilizing mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] to develop a treatment for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF). MSCs possess valuable properties that make them particularly suitable for potential treatments – chief amongst them are; their plasticity [ability to differentiate into a particular tissue type], their anti-inflammatory capabilities and, their immunomodulatory properties. Currently, there are five Phase 1 clinical trials registered utilizing MSCs to treat IPF.
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.
Author Kali Sakai, reports on banking stem cells from teeth in Parent Map. The daughter of a dentist, Sakai learned about teeth, however she was unaware of the stem cells inside teeth. As Sakai states, “It blew my mind to think that my child’s baby tooth could hold the key to a life-saving treatment in her adulthood”.
Huntington's disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disease affecting the neuronal striatum and thus motor and behavioral control. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is an exciting avenue of research for Huntington’s because it has been shown to prevent neuronal death and stimulate the growth of brain cells. Additionally, Huntington’s post mortem brains indicate low concentrations of BDNF. For the first time, scientists have engineered mesenchymal stem cells(MSCs) as delivery agents for BDNF.
The UC Davis team isolated MSCs and engineered them to secrete elevated amounts of BDNF. The stem cells were then injected into immunosuppressed animal models, who were monitored for behavioral differences. The group treated with MSCs demonstrated less degeneration in the striatum, increased neuron growth activity, and an extended lifespan of 15 percent.
Mesenchymal stem cell therapy has demonstrated yet another application in repairing tissue damage. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) greatly improved urinary continence and erectile function after radical prostatectomy (RP) in animal studies. These conditions are common side effects of surgical treatment for human prostate cancer.
Physicians at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System have developed a novel stem cell transplantation technique aimed at curing adults with sickle-cell anemia. Donor cells from a tissue-matched donor are transfused into the patient, producing healthy new blood cells and eliminating symptoms.
For over 10 million Americans, osteoporosis presents a chronic, degenerative, and complex problem, with few current therapeutic options to promote bone growth. A team of researchers from Loma Linda University and the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center in California have reversed the bone-degrading disease of osteoporosis in an animal model using hematopoietic stem cells [HSCs]. The research offers yet another development in our current understanding and capability for practical application in the stem cell field. Now, after having identified specific growth factors related to bone growth and proliferation, stem cell therapy is thought to holds great promise in reversing bone weakness and ultimately, morbidity and mortality.
Researchers led by Dr. Su-Chun Zhang at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center are utilizing stem cells in a pre-clinical trial to determine the role of human astrocytes in neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, Huntington’s disease, and Rhett Syndrome. The team found that, upon integration into the central nervous system, stem cell-derived astrocytes from patients with ALS replace the astrocytes of the host while disrupting motor function, as though the host also had ALS.