Researchers are developing stem cell therapies to restore neurons and repair optic nerve injuries, which cause severe visual impairment and eventual blindness. Currently, optic nerve injuries are untreatable, due to the neuronal death that renders the nerve non-functional following a traumatic injury. This study investigates how periodontal ligament stem cells [PDLSCs] can improve retinal ganglion cells’ (RGC) survival, responsible for the optic nerve’s function. In an animal model, three weeks after an injection of PDLSCs, researchers observed inflammatory responses indicative of increased RGC survival, as well as regeneration of nerve connections, with no adverse effects.
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.
Stem Cells may be the key to maintaining your youth as we age. Researchers at the University of Illinois revealed that injecting mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs - the same type of stem cells found in teeth] into the leg muscles of mice facilitated the repair and strengthening of muscles following exercise. Skeletal muscle decreases in mass and function as we age. Armed with a more nuanced understanding of how muscles respond to exercise, researchers are developing novel therapies utilizing MSCs to rejuvenate aged or damaged muscles in humans.
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.
Osteoporosis, a chronic and life-threatening degenerative disease, affects more 200 million globally, and with a growing population of aging adults projected to live longer lives than in generations past, the issue of preserving and protecting skeletal bone integrity will likely become increasingly important. A group of researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have examined the relationship of therapeutic stem cell therapies in the complex endocrine system of animals with vertebral fractures, who received daily injections of parathyroid hormone(PTH) and stem cells for 21 days. The authors hypothesize that the combination of approaches enhanced the stem cell’s migration to damaged bone areas.
"We have known that used separately, both the stem cells and the hormone each have an effect on the healing process involved in bone fractures," said Dan Gazit, DMD, PhD, co-director of the Skeletal Regeneration and Stem Cell Therapy Program in the Department of Surgery and Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute. "Now, we have learned that the stem cells and PTH much stronger combined than they are separately."
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder of the nervous system that affects more than 60,000 Americans each year. A group of researchers from Yonsei University in South Korea has discovered that the protection of nervous tissue may be facilitated by stem cells. Animals with Parkinson’s were injected with human mesenchymal stem cells. The treatment improved the animals’ cognitive behavior and suppressed alpha-synuclein, a toxic protein in the brain.