Rachel Okolicsanyi, a scientist from the Genomics Research Centre at QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, is manipulating mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] to produce neural cells which can be used to treat brain damage. By introducing different chemicals to specific proteins found in stem cells, researchers can determine which chemicals facilitate, or prohibit, their potential to differentiate into neural cells. This advancement in the understanding of how stem cells can be directed will accelerate the development of treatments for brain damage, specifically from strokes and trauma.
Researchers at the U.K’s University of Bristol’s School of Cellular and Molecular Medicine announced a new advancement in bio-printing. They developed a bio-ink that is comprised of stem cells and two polymers – one naturally occurring and the other artificial. The polymers provide structural support to the stem cells that can then be directed to differentiate into the appropriate tissue. The addition of the phase-change polymer component to the bio-ink allows the printed organ to quickly develop the structural integrity necessary to introduce cell nutrients to the stem cells.
With a nod to the Bee Gees - Scientists from the University of Utah School of Medicine have successfully treated heart failure patients with autologous stem cells. Patients with stem cell therapy experienced 37% fewer cardiac events--including death and hospital admissions--than a placebo group.
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.
Dr. Henry Klassen of UC Irvine has initiated an FDA approved stem cell based clinical trial for the treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) through the regeneration of damaged retinal tissue. RP is caused by the slow decay of photoreceptors in the retina, which provide vital chemical communication to the brain. The disease is thought to derive from mutations in genes responsible for rods and cones, which ultimately lead to blindness. There is no current treatment for RP.
Scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh have succeeded in growing new liver cells in animal models by infusing Hepatic Progenitor stem cells that can develop into new liver cells. This is the first time liver function has been restored in a living subject, suggesting stem cell infusion as a possible alternative to liver transplant.
The potential power of regenerative medicine is gaining prominence in the mainstream media. A recent report in the Wall Street Journal depicts a future where regenerative medicine would support the repair and regeneration of human body parts and tissues via stem cells, three-dimensional printing, and applied bioengineering strategies. The emerging therapies take advantage of the special characteristics of stem cells, that is, their role as the natural repair and maintenance cells of the body and their ability to regenerate and differentiate into a variety of cell types.
In a newly published phase II clinical trial from the Asan Medical Center in Seoul, Korea, researchers observed full recovery from fistulas [abnormal connections between organs caused by the inflammation] in 75% of patients suffering from Crohn’s disease upon the injection of autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells. MSCs have the ability to regulate the patient’s immune system to reduce inflammation, resulting in the complete closure of the fistulas without recurrence.
Topics: large intestine, bank dental stem cells, Crohn's Disease, autologousstemcells, autoimmune disease, gastrointestinal disease, autoimmune attack, research, StemSave, mesenchymal stem cells, organs, stem cells, Fistulas
Scientists led by Mathias Hoehn at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolic Research have devised a novel method for documenting the process by which human stem cells transplanted into the cerebral cortex of an animal model develop into mature nerve cells. The researchers inserted optical image reporters into the cells to emit different shades of light when certain genes were activated. By observing the sequence in which the light was emitted, the group determined the timeline of the stem cell’s transformation in vivo.
Researchers from Okayama University have developed a method to treat the congenital heart defect known as hypoplastic left heart syndrome [HLHS] by utilizing a specialized cardiac stem cell. In a Phase I clinical trial conducted on children suffering from HLHS, the scientists concluded that, because the young stem cells in children are more abundant and self-renewing than those in adults, intracoronary injection of stem cells is a safe and feasible approach to treating the condition.
Topics: Heart Valve, Phase III, Heart, stemsaveblog, Heart Failure, Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease, clinical trials, Debilitating Diseases, Stemcells, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Heart Attack, autologousstemcells, heart disease