Study Shows How Stem Cells Slow Aging May Lead to New Treatments for Heart Failure

Source: PR Newswire, Stem Cells Translational Medicine / Image: Mesenchymal Stem Cells

(DURHAM, N.C.) — A new study published in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine demonstrates how mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) not only protect the heart from further damage after a cardiac incident but can actually slow down its aging process, too. These findings, in a rat model of the aging heart, could help propel stem cells to the forefront as a potential solution for more effective ways to treat heart conditions.

“This study is important as it suggests an alternative approach for treating heart failure in elderly patients,” said Yanjie Lu, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the pharmacology department at Harbin Medical University (HMU) in Harbin, China, and a world-renowned expert on myocardial infarction. He led the study, conducted by colleagues at HMU.

Aging is a complex and multifaceted process, resulting in damage to molecules, cells and tissue that in turn leads to declining organs. Mesenchymal stem cells, found in bone marrow, can generate bone, cartilage and fat cells that support the formation of blood and fibrous connective tissue. These stem cells also can be coaxed in the laboratory into becoming a variety of cell types, from cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) and neurons, to osteoblasts, smooth muscle cells and more.

Several studies have already shown that MSCs can reverse age-related degeneration of multiple organs, restore physical and cognitive functions of aged mice, and improve age-associated osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease and atherosclerosis. Dr. Lu’s team has been looking into the anti-aging benefits MSCs might have on the heart, too.

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By |April 8th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

New Advancements In 3-D Designs For Neural Tissue Engineering

Source: Eureka Alert; Neural Regeneration Research // Image Credit: Richard McMurtrey, Institute of Neural Regeneration & Tissue Engineering

(SALT LAKE CITY, Utah) — It is well known that neurological diseases and injuries pose some of the greatest challenges in modern medicine, with few if any options for effectively treating such diagnoses, but recent work suggests a unique approach for reconstructing damaged neural tissue. In an article published in the journal Neural Regeneration Research, several new designs for 3D tissue constructs are described for using stem cells grown on nanofiber scaffolding within a supportive hydrogel.

“The idea that neural structure can be guided in three dimensional hydrogels using nanofiber scaffolding and biochemical cues is quite unique,” said Dr. Richard McMurtrey, the author of the work. “Evidence from in vitro work thus far has been fairly surprising, showing that after only a few days neurons can grow long neurite extensions that track along the coated nanofibers.”

The tissue constructs have been designed for guidance of neural connections, acting like a road map for the growth of the neurons. “One of the weaknesses with prior studies of stem cell implantation into the nervous system is that no guidance is given for what the cells should do once they are implanted,” says McMurtrey. “But if we combine signaling molecules and three-dimensional topographical guidance along with the stem cells, the chances of the cells achieving their intended function is much greater.” Dr. McMurtrey likens the transplantation of cells into the harsh environment of the nervous system to dropping people off in the mountains with no resources and hoping that they form a functional civilization. “What we hope to do, however, is build some of the roads, bridges, street signs, and homes that can guide and protect the cells when they are transplanted. In this case, that infrastructure includes nanofibers, biochemical cues, and hydrogel composites.”

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By |April 6th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Stem Cell Therapy Effective at 3 Years for Multiple Sclerosis Remission

Source: hcplive, JAMA

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — High dose immunosuppressive therapy (HDIT) with autologous hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) sustained relapsing remitting (RR) multiple sclerosis (MS) remission at 3 years, according to preliminary results published in JAMA Neurology.

Researchers from HALT MS study evaluated MS patients through 5 years after HCT in order to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and durability of MS disease stabilization through 3 years after HDIT/ HCT. This analysis is the pre specified 3-year interim from the trial, which enrolled 25 RRMS patients from various referral centers. The autologous peripheral blood stem cells grafts were CD34+ selected and then the participants received high dose treatment with carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, and melphalan as well as rabbit antithymocyte globulin before autologous HCT.

The HALT MS trial aims for event free survival which the researchers defined as without death or disease activity from any one of the following: confirmed loss of neurologic function; clinical relapse; or new lesions observed on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The toxic effects were reported using the National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events.

“Theoretically, if you look at identical twins where one twin has MS, 75 percent of the time the other twin doesn’t have MS,” said study co author Michael Racke, MD, of Ohio State University, in a news release. “What we’re trying to do is make an MS patient their own identical twin that doesn’t have MS.”

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By |April 6th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

UC San Diego Launches Study on Stem Cells for Paralysis

Source: Ivanhoe Newswire

(SAN DIEGO, CA) — According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, nearly one in 50 people is living with paralysis. Until now, there wasn’t much hope. But a new study involving stem cells has doctors and patients excited.

Two years ago, Brenda Guerra’s life changed forever.

Guerra told Ivanhoe, “They told me that I went into a ditch and was ejected out of the vehicle.” The accident left the 26-year-old paralyzed from the waist down, and confined to a wheelchair.

“I don’t feel any of my lower body at all” she said.

Guerra has traveled from Kansas to UC San Diego to be the first patient to participate in a ground-breaking safety trial, testing stem cells for paralysis.

Joseph D. Ciacci, MD, Professor of Neurosurgery at UC San Diego told Ivanhoe, “We are directly injecting the stem cells into the spine.”

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By |April 6th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Progress Against Parkinson’s Reported With Specially Treated Embryonic Stem Cells

Source: Eureka Alert/D’Or Institute for Research and Education

(RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil) — Brazilian researchers at D’OR Institute for Research and Education (IDOR) and Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ) have taken what they describe as an important step toward using the implantation of stem cell-generated neurons as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Using an FDA approved substance for treating stomach cancer, Rehen and colleagues were able to grow dopamine-producing neurons derived from embryonic stem cells that remained healthy and functional for as long as 15 months after implantation into mice, restoring motor function without forming tumors.

Parkinson’s, which affect as many 10 million people in the world, is caused by a depletion of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. Current treatments include medications and electrical implants in the brain which causes severe adverse effects over time and fail to prevent disease progression. Several studies have indicated that the transplantation of embryonic stem cells improves motor functions in animal models. However, until now, the procedure has shown to be unsafe, because of the risk of tumors upon transplantation.

To address this issue, the researchers tested for the first time to pre-treat undifferentiated mouse embryonic stem cells with mitomycin C, a drug already prescribed to treat cancer. The substance blocks the DNA replication and prevents the cells to multiply out of control.

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By |April 3rd, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Novel Stem Cell Therapy Provides Long-Term Treatment For Crohn’s Fistula

Source: Healio.com; Stem Cells Translational Medicine

(SEOUL, Korea) — Long-term follow-up of patients with fistulae related to Crohn’s disease demonstrated sustained complete closure after autologous adipose-derived stem cell therapy, according to research data.

“Crohn’s fistula is one of the most distressing diseases as it decreases [a] patient’s quality of life and frequently recurs,” Chang Sik Yu, MD, PhD, from Asan Medical Center in Seoul, Korea, said in a press release. “It has been reported to occur in up to 38% of Crohn’s patients and over the course of the disease, 10% to 18% of them must undergo a proctectomy.”

Currently available treatments fail to achieve complete closure or reduce recurrence and adverse events, he added.

In a previous phase 2 clinical trial involving 43 patients with Crohn’s fistula, Yu and colleagues demonstrated that mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose tissue were safe and had therapeutic potential, with 82% of patients achieving complete healing with sustained response for 1 year.

“It strongly demonstrated [mesenchymal stem cells] derived from [adipose-derived stem cells] are a safe and useful therapeutic tool for the treatment of Crohn’s fistula,” Yu said.

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By |April 3rd, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Nanomaterial “Sniper” Targets Cancer Stem Cells

Source: Asian Scientist

(BEIJING, China) – While much research has focused on using nanomaterials as drug delivery agents, a new study suggests that they can be directly used as therapeutic agents. The work, published in Nature Communications, describes a nanomaterial that is non-toxic to normal cells but effectively kills cancer stem cells.

Traditional cancer therapies focus on inhibiting bulk cancer cells. Recent oncobiology studies, however, reveal that only a small subpopulation of cancer cells—termed cancer stem cells—are responsible for the bane of cancer recurrence, metastasis, chemotherapeutic and radiotherapeutic resistance.

Professor Zhao Yuliang and his team of researchers from the Key Laboratory for Biomedical Effects of Nanomaterials and Nanosafety, Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP), the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology of China, and the University of Science and Technology of China have found that metallofullerenol nanomaterial Gd@C82(OH)22 possesses highly effective intrinsic inhibitory activity against triple-negative breast cancer stem cells.

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By |April 2nd, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Israeli Lab Uses Stem-Cell Derived Astrocytes for ALS in Mice

Source: The Jewish Link • Image: Prof. Michel Revel

(NES-ZIONA, Israel) — A new stem-cell technology with the potential to treat neurodegenerative diseases including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is now in development by the Israel Prize laureate responsible for the blockbuster multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Rebif.

Prof. Michel Revel’s company, Kadimastem, recently announced successful results of a preclinical trial in which its lab-produced central nervous system support cells (astrocytes) demonstrated significant motor function and survivability improvement in a mouse model of ALS.

Revel based his approach on scientific evidence that ALS is characterized by malfunctioning astrocytes. Producing and then injecting healthy, functioning astrocytes into a patient’s nervous system seems to provide support for damaged motor neurons, slowing the progression of the disease, improving quality of life and even extending survival. Globally, 90 percent of ALS patients die of respiratory failure within three to five years after the onset of symptoms.

Kadimastem is now in touch with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well as regulatory bodies in Israel and Europe, hoping to advance the technology to clinical trials.

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By |April 1st, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Premature Aging of Stem Cell Telomeres, Not Inflammation, Linked to Emphysema

Source: John Hopkins Medicine

(BALTIMORE, Maryland) – Lung diseases like emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis are common among people with malfunctioning telomeres, the “caps” or ends of chromosomes. Now, researchers from Johns Hopkins say they have discovered what goes wrong and why.

Mary Armanios, MD, an associate professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine., and her colleagues report that some stem cells vital to lung cell oxygenation undergo premature aging — and stop dividing and proliferating — when their telomeres are defective. The stem cells are those in the alveoli, the tiny air exchange sacs where blood takes up oxygen.

In studies of these isolated stem cells and in mice, Armanios’ team discovered that dormant or senescent stem cells send out signals that recruit immune molecules to the lungs and cause the severe inflammation that is also a hallmark of emphysema and related lung diseases.

Until now, Armanios says, researchers and clinicians have thought that “inflammation alone is what drives these lung diseases and have based therapy on anti-inflammatory drugs for the last 30 years.”

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By |March 31st, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Researchers Discover New Way To Promote Regeneration of Heart Tissue

Source: Medical Express. Image: Adult cardiomyocyte that has re-entered the cell cycle after expression of miR302-367. Credit: Lab of Ed Morrisey, PhD, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

(PHILADELPHIA, Penn.) — The heart tissue of mammals has limited capacity to regenerate after an injury such as a heart attack, in part due to the inability to reactivate a cardiac muscle cell and proliferation program. Recent studies have indicated a low level of cardiac muscle cell (cardiomyocytes) proliferation in adult mammals, but it is insufficient to repair damaged hearts.

A team led by Ed Morrisey, PhD, a professor of Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology and the scientific director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has now shown that a subset of RNA molecules, called microRNAs, is important for cardiomyocyte cell proliferation during development and is sufficient to induce proliferation in cardiomyocytes in the adult heart. MicroRNAs, which do not generate proteins, repress gene expression by binding messenger RNAs, which do generate proteins, and promote their degradation. The findings appear this week in Science Translational Medicine.

The team found that the loss of the microRNA cluster miR302-367 in mice led to decreased cardiomyocyte cell proliferation during development. In contrast, increased expression of the microRNA cluster in adult hearts led to a reactivation of proliferation in the normally non-reproducing adult cardiomyocytes.

This reactivation occurred, in part, through repression of a pathway called Hippo that governs cell proliferation and organ size.

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By |March 18th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments