Researchers at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University have developed a methodology to create mini liver organoids to test how therapies will affect patients in vivo. Since susceptibility to liver disease varies greatly based on the individual, the researchers are hoping to better tailor treatments by creating a mini liver from patients’ own stem cells in order to test a variety of treatments to assess those best suited for each individual patient. This stem cell advance will enable researchers to ’personalize’ treatments to the individual, while also enabling them to study and better understand rare liver diseases.
Topics: stem cell treatment
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic are using autologous (the patients’ own) stem cells to treat a rare congenital heart defect. For infants born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the first few months of life are a complicated battle that involves several reconstructive surgeries that repair the underdeveloped left portion of the heart and help the right side maintain the increased load. The infants are participating in a Phase I clinical trial after being diagnosed with the syndrome before birth. At birth, the researchers obtained the patients’ cord blood stem cells and cryopreserved them until the second reconstructive operation of the heart, which typically follows a few months after birth. The researchers injected the patients’ stem cells into the affected site of the heart to support and strengthen the weakened cardiac muscle in the area.
Topics: banking stem cells
The Alzheimer’s Association has granted 3$ million to Longeveron, a biotechnology company focused on treating age-related diseases, to fund their Phase I clinical trial, which utilizes mesenchymal stem cells to treat the chronic inflammation that has been associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Mesenchymal stem cells, known for their immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties, are ideal candidates to treat areas of inflammation, as other studies have already successfully shown their efficacy in regulating this condition.
Topics: treating Alzheimer's
Doctors at the Andrews Institute in Florida are utilizing autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells to repair a meniscus tear with the aim of returning the patient to his normal levels of physical activity. Typically, surgery is often the most viable option with this type of injury, but it has several downsides, including a longer recovery time and the possibility for more surgeries in the future. With meniscal tears, doctors often remove the meniscus entirely, which may eventually require a full knee replacement. The autologous stem cell treatment, used alone, or in conjunction with surgery, could fully repair a tear or accelerate healing after a surgery.
Researchers at University of California Irvine (UCI) have engineered mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to locate metastases of cancer in bone and deliver targeted therapeutic factors that destroy the cancer but not the surrounding bone. The issue with conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy is that although the treatment often successfully kill the cancer cells, they also severely damage the surrounding tissue, leading to a plethora of side effects. For this study, the researchers used MSCs that were genetically engineered to express surface proteins that are known to interact with cancer cells. Additionally, the stem cells expressed factors that prevent bone resorption, which would otherwise lead to bone loss following the cancer treatment.
Topics: stem cell cancer treatment
Biotechnology company Memphis Meats has successfully grown chicken meat from stem cells in a lab, bypassing the cost and environmental toll of raising poultry. The stem cells were obtained from a live chicken and grown in the lab in a nutrient-rich medium until the cells formed into a piece of meat. The meat grown in the lab is virtually indistinguishable from meat obtained through traditional methods. Bypassing current livestock industry practices eliminates unnecessary harm to the animals, avoids the need for antibiotics and growth hormones,and mitigates environmental degradation. Memphis Meats, having successfully created lab-grown beef and duck, have now expanded their culturing protocols to chicken, expanding their expertise in the field of stem cell culturing.
Topics: lab grown meat
In a sign of the growing awareness of stem cells and their impact on medical treatments, UK citizens have signed a petition advocating for their Parliament to allow people to receive time off work in order to make stem cell donations. Thousands of patients worldwide await stem cell treatments due to the severe lack of stem cell donors, and although many people want to donate, they find themselves hesitating in fear of missing work.
Topics: stem cell treatment
Researchers at the Bristol School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine are using anchor proteins to guide and keep stem cells in an affected area of the heart to maximize the efficiency of regenerative treatments. The researchers analyzed a protein called adhesin, which is known to locate and attach itself to heart tissue, and they used this property to help attract stem cells to the heart to repair damaged muscle that results from a heart attack or heart disease. The researchers used the adhesin model and created a protein that was on the surface of stem cells and helped guide them directly to heart tissue.
Topics: heart repair
Researchers at Columbia University are using scaffolds and stem cells to grow hair follicles in the lab for the first time. Currently, people suffering from hair loss have to resort to transplanting fully grown hair follicles from another area of the body in order to restore hair growth. Though this process has been refined over time, it still requires a painful extraction process and poses certain risks. The new method utilizes a 3D printed scaffold structure that mimics the micro environment of hair follicles, improving hair growth and maximizing the efficiency of the transplants. Additionally, researchers are using a new combination of growth factors that effectively stimulate hair growth by suppressing factors that keep hair follicles dormant and therefore lead to baldness.
Researchers at Seoul National University Hospital are using stem cells to reconstruct segments of the esophagus due to birth defects or damage following treatments for cancer. The current standard of care has several drawbacks, since it involves taking a portion of a patient’s small intestine to reconstruct the esophagus when all, or part, of it is removed. In an animal model researchers 3D printed a two-layered scaffold using nanofibers in the shape of an actual esophagus, then seeded the scaffold with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). The technique enables researchers to cater the shape to the exact specifications for the form and function of the esophagus, including the placement of the thyroid gland flap.
Topics: stem cell cancer treatment