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.
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.
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.
Researchers at the Sri Ramachandra University (SRU) in Chennai have differentiated stem cells from human gum [gingival] tissue into neurons. Following their success, Dr. R. Suresh and research scholars S. Rajasekharan and M. G. Dinesh hope to develop methodologies to utilize the differentiated nerve cells to treat spinal cord injuries.
Researchers at the University of Texas have discovered a potential stem cell treatment for burn victims. After researchers analyzed tissue samples from severe burns, they observed ‘satellite cells’ that activated apoptosis [cell death] but, also activated stem cells that stimulated muscle regeneration. Such advances in the understanding of how stem cells interact with their environment will accelerate stem cell treatments for burn patients.
Dr. Christian Jorgensen, head of the clinical unit for osteoarticular diseases, and his team from Lapeyronie University Hospital in Montpellier, France have a treatment for arthritis using the patient’s own [autologous] stem cells. Following the recovery of the stem cells, they were injected directly into the knee joint affected by arthritis. The experiment consisted of three groups receiving different dosages of the stem cells. Interestingly, each group experienced significant improvements in pain and mobility of the joint.
New research from the Eye Program at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute demonstrates how a single injection of adult human stem cells can preserve eyesight in an animal suffering from Age-Related Macular Degeneration [AMD] for the equivalent of 16 years. Upon injection, the stem cells began to recruit other healthy cells towards the retina to form a protective layer, which prevented further macular degeneration.