Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which affects an estimated 26 million people worldwide, is the fourth leading cause of death among the elderly and the leading cause of dementia. Predictions are that the number of AD cases will quadruple by 2050. Although pharmacological methods for treating AD have been discovered, none significantly delay the progression of the disease.
Clinics across the United States are advertising stem cell treatments that attempt to take advantage of what they perceive as exceptions in FDA regulations.The therapies in question are adipose-derived autologous stem cell treatments, in which fat cells are removed from a patient, broken down to separate components that purportedly contain stem cells, and are then reinjected into the same patient.
While the first actual bionic man (or woman) might still be a ways off, the writers of the show might be impressed at this. A international team of researchers, have just taken an important step in the area of cell therapy: repairing the cerebral cortex of the adult mouse using a graft of cortical neurons derived from embryonic stem cells.
Stem cells derived from human amnion have for some time been considered promising for cell therapies because of their ease of access, ability to differentiate, and absence of ethical issues. Now, a research team has found that stem cells derived from human female amnion also have immunosuppressive activity and that the addition of antibodies to specific factors can enhance their immunosuppressive potential.
For those of us who were following stem cell news, recently the field had a huge setback when a paper, that offered a cheap and novel way to create stem cells, was retracted from publication. Regenerative medicine aims to replace lost or damaged cells, tissues or organs through cellular transplantation, but the promise to a better life has been hampered. Because stem cells derived from human embryos can trigger ethical concerns, a good solution is reprogramming adult cells back to an embryo-like state using a combination of reprogramming factors. Unfortunately that has been easier said than done.
Stem cells offered the promise of having a patents own organ grown to replace a failing or damaged one. Unfortunately the road to that future has been paved with seemingly insurmountable challenges. Thankfully now we are one step closer, researchers have addressed a major challenge in the quest to build replacement kidneys in the lab. Working with human-sized pig kidneys, the scientists developed the most successful method to date to keep blood vessels in the new organs open and flowing with blood.
Almost everyone regenerates nerves, but you! Sure, yesterday we talked about how other animals in the kingdom regenerate damaged nerves and how we got left in the dust. But we forge ahead and we have more good news in the race to catch up to some other animals. Building upon previous research, a team of scientists report that neurons which were derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells [ or iPSC for short] and grafted into rats after a spinal cord injury produced cells with tens of thousands of axons extending virtually the entire length of the animals’ central nervous system.
Feel like you could use some extra grey matter? Maybe get a dash of genius added to all those cobwebs in the brain? Well then science might just have the answer. Researchers have managed to graft neurons that were made from reprogrammed stem cells into the brains of mice for the first time with long term stability.The best part, six months after implantation, the neurons had become fully functionally integrated into the brain.
So researchers for the first time were evaluating the safety and reliability of the existing targeted gene correction technologies and in the process they successfully developed a new method of gene editing, TALEN-HDAdV [which I will explain later]. This new breakthrough could significantly increased gene-correction efficiency in human induced pluripotent stem cell [hiPSC]. You would have to guess that this is probably the science equivalent of finding a new function on your smartphone, while trying to work your microwave.
Breaking news: Stem cells don’t come with user manuals. That may be a little daunting for those of us who remember the VCR with its blinking 12:00 that you could never seem to get rid of. But thanks to some persistent scientists, the secrets of stem cells are finally coming out and a new discovery just helped solve a huge piece of the puzzle. All this thanks to a new technique that coaxes stem cells [which can become any cell in the body] to take the first step to specialization.
Herpes, it isn’t just a pest that follows you home from Vegas, not anymore anyway. New research has found a [not so] new use for the virus. Harvard Stem Cell Institute [HSCI] scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital have repurposed the herpes virus to help fight brain tumors.
The investigators reported that by trapping virus-loaded stem cells in a gel and applying them to tumors they significantly improved survival in mice with glioblastoma multiforme, which is not only the most common brain tumor in human adults, it also happens to be the most difficult to treat.
Working with stem cells can be a little unruly, it’s sort of like asking a five year old what they want to be when they grow up– then making them stick to that plan. However, researchers have found a key piece of the puzzle needed to help coax stem cells into the adult cells they want and the key, silly putty.
A few weeks back we reported on the latest stem cell research and the controversy surrounding it. I held my breath, wanting so badly to believe that there was a novel and cheap way to make new stem cells that would be controversy free.
The investigating body involved with trying to separate the mess and determine what may have been accidental, such as the mislabeled images in Nature, which could have been a simple publishing error has come to a decision about the work.
Ever hear if it is too good to be true, then it probably it probably is? Well that seems to be the case for the not so latest news for stem cell research.
Just weeks ago, the science world was buzzing when Japanese scientists announced that it had discovered a novel way to produce stem cells that was free of controversy, cheaper than traditional methods and simple.