Researchers in India have used an autologous stem cell treatment in a pilot pre-clinical study to completely reverse the adverse effects of a quickly progressing case of MS (multiple sclerosis). MS is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own nervous system by breaking down the myelin sheath on neurons. Proper myelination is responsible for faster transmission of nerve signals and aggressive forms of MS cause patients to lose motor functions in their limbs, as well as experience memory and cognition problems. The patient in this study was experiencing a particularly degenerative form of MS, with multiple relapses over the years, and he began losing his ability to walk. After receiving an injection of his own mesenchymal stem cells (the same type of stem cells found in teeth), as well as a monitored diet and physical therapy, the patient experienced immediate improvement. He was soon able to walk and even run again, which he had been unable to do for over five years.
A team of researchers from the Dental Institute at King’s College London has developed a natural approach to repair damaged teeth. Current methods include fillings and cement, which disrupt the normal mineral level of the tooth and can lead to infection. The new approach utilizes a collagen sponge infused with glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3) to stimulate the stem cells in the pulp of the tooth to regenerate dentin and repair the tooth naturally. The collagen sponge degrades over time and is replaced by the naturally regenerated dentin. Lead author of the study, Professor Paul Sharpe, from King's College London states, "The simplicity of our approach makes it ideal as a clinical dental product for the natural treatment of large cavities, by providing both pulp protection and restoring dentine.”
The 21st Century Cures Act [aka: the Cures Act], was passed by the Senate [95-4] and the House of Representatives [392-26] and signed into law by the President in December 2016. In addition to increasing funding for medical research, the act creates an accelerated pathway for the development of regenerative treatments. The Act provides new guidelines to enable the FDA to fast track clinical trials and streamline the approval process for regenerative therapies.
California’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has announced the completion of patient enrollment in a study testing a stem cell derived therapy for retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients. The treatment involves injecting human retinal progenitor cells into the damaged area of the retina to improve vision. These progenitor cells could either replace the damaged photoreceptors in the eye, or prevent them from being destroyed.
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center, led by Dr. Charles Cox, are utilizing autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells to treat traumatic brain injury (TBI). The results demonstrated that the stem cells reduced the body’s inflammatory response to the trauma and preserved brain tissue – a significant advancement from current therapies used to treat TBI. 1.7 million Americans sustain TBI annually and TBI is a contributing factor to a third of all injury related deaths.
The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine announced a $30 million initiative to advance stem cell therapies. The program is designed to facilitate research’s move from bench to bedside – accelerating clinical trials and laying the groundwork for FDA approval.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University have developed a novel way of labeling stem cells. Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) were engineered to uptake an iron-oxide nanoparticle called Ferumoxytol, which is picked up by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These developments allow researchers to assess cell migration and integration with a variety of tissues, aiding in clinical investigation of stem cell therapies.
Innumerable studies [using animals] have been conducted pertaining to the regenerative capabilities of stem cells to restore cell function in cells/tissue exposed to chemotherapy. In one such study, scientists from Egypt's Mansoura Medical School injected bone marrow stem cells in chemotherapy treated animals and documented the regeneration of ovarian tissue and an increase in follicular count.
In a recently published study, a team of researchers led by Dr. Giovanni Mancardi from the University of Genoa conducted a phase II clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of conventional multiple sclerosis [MS] therapy to intravenous stem cell transplantation. Throughout the four year trial, the team found that, in addition to significantly decreasing disease progression and brain damage compared to MS drug mitoxantrone [MTX], the transplanted stem cells had migrated into the patients’ bone marrow and stimulated the generation of new, non-harmful immune cells, essentially resetting the immune system.