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Embargo Policy: Articles for STEM CELLS and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine are embargoed for release until 9 a.m. Eastern U.S. time on the day the article is posted online. This policy applies to members of the media, authors, institutions' public information officers, and the public. Authors may not discuss their work with the media until 1 week before the mailing date or 1 week before online posting of the article, whichever is earlier, and must ensure that the media representatives agree to abide by the embargo policy. STEM CELLS Translational Medicine may refuse to publish a manuscript, despite acceptance for publication, if it has been prematurely released to the press.

November 1, 2012

 

Monika Ehrhart-Bornstein, Ph.D., of Dresden University of Technology’s Center for Regenerative Therapies (Germany), was a lead investigator on the team. “Chromaffin progenitor cells seem to be a promising cell source due to the potential use in autologous transplantations, which avoids the possibility of immune rejection,” she explained. “Our team had recently described how we isolated chromaffin progenitor cells from the adrenal glands of cows and then treated them so that they differentiated into functional neurons. In this subsequent study, we wanted to learn whether these cells could also be obtained from adult human adrenal glands and then forced to differentiate into neurons, as a prerequisite for future use in transplantation trials.”

October 12, 2012

 

"In China, hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection accounts for the highest proportion of liver failure cases. While liver transplantation is considered the standard treatment, it has several drawbacks including a limited number of donors, long waiting lists, high cost and multiple complications. Our study shows that mesenchymal stem cell (MSCs) transfusions might be a good, safe alternative," said Fu-Sheng Wang, Ph.D., M.D., the study's lead author and director of the Research Center for Biological Therapy (RCBT) in Beijing.

Wang along with RCBT colleague, Drs. Ming Shi and Zheng Zhang of the Research Center for Biological Therapy, The Institute of Translational Hepatology led the group of physician-scientists from the centers and Beijing 302 Hospital who conducted the study.

October 3, 2012

Now, researchers at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., think they might have found an answer. Reporting in the October issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, they detail a low-cost, highly-effective way to detect and then purge at-risk cells during an early stage in the differentiation process.

"Strategies to improve the safety of stem cell therapy have generally focused on separating or depleting damaged cells after the cells have differentiated. However, while this method was able to diminish the number of tumors formed as well as significantly reduce their size, the technical burdens and cost of specialized reagents and equipment needed to do so remain a challenge for widespread clinical applications," says lead investigator Timothy J. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D. He directs the cell biology group within the clinic's Regenerative Strategies team.

September 10, 2012

Scientists testing the treatment on brain-injured rats grafted neural stem cells from the brain's subventricular zone into the hippocampus in one group of animals but not another. Mood, memory and mobility significantly improved in the rats that received the stem cells.

"Our procedure brought back key functions in the part of the brain that regulates emotional outlook, learning, memory and spatial navigation," said Ashok Shetty, director of neurosciences at the Texas A&M institute, senior investigator who helped lead the study.

"We also learned that the neural stem cells we grafted into the brain's hippocampus had the ability to survive, migrate, differentiate and thrive where there had been neural loss before."

The rats received the stem cells five days after they were injured and were evaluated six weeks after the graft took place.

September 10, 2012

Several recent clinical trials have shown how stem cells can help the heart heal after an attack, but to date the investigations have focused on transplanting cells directly into the site of the attack itself. However, a heart attack has a ripple effect, much like how an earthquake reaches beyond its epicenter to affect outlying regions, too. As the heart attempts to shift the workload from the damaged section to surrounding healthy muscle, the tissue abutting the attack site gets caught in the middle. This often results in the tissue being overstressed and leads to cardiac failure.

In this new study, the researchers evaluated the effects of expanding the stem cell treatment beyond the heart attack site to include the surrounding region.

August 7, 2012

Pluripotent stem cells can develop into various kinds of cells in the body, such as muscle, blood vessels, and bone cells; however, there are several barriers to culturing adult stem cells in a petri dish. It has been especially difficult to generate blood stem cells in the lab without using animal serum, which can carry viruses that interfere with cell reproduction and create other complications.

Schiedlmeier and Klump used mouse embryonic stem cells to grow blood-forming stem cells in low-oxygen conditions in the lab without using any serum or supportive cells known as stroma. When they transplanted the blood-forming cells into mice, they found the cells were capable of rebuilding the mice's blood-forming system.

Their discovery means that scientists may eventually be able to create blood stem cells from transplant patients in a lab rather than using stem cells from unrelated donors, avoiding dangerous "graft versus host" reactions.

August 7, 2012

Using human stem cells from sources such as cord blood and circulating blood as well as embryonic stem cells, they produced a much higher yield of red blood cells than has previously been possible. "We combined different cell expansion protocols into a 'cocktail' that increased the number of cells we could produce by ten to 100 fold," Bouhassira said.

Blood transfusions, developed more than 80 years ago, are essential component of many surgeries, trauma medicine, and blood cancer therapies, and are one of the primary treatments for people with sickle cell anemia and other blood diseases. However, the blood needed for such transfusions is obtained only through donations and can be in short supply, particularly for chronically transfused people who require rare blood groups. The methods described by the researchers can be used to produce blood with any blood groups.

July 27, 2012

"We had already discovered how VD3 increases the transforming growth factor TGF-ß2 and alkali-phosphatase activity — two essential features of hair-inducing DPCs. This time we focused on VD3's therapeutic potency and values for hair regeneration," said Kotaro Yoshimura, M.D. "The results suggest that it may be useful in expanding human DPCs with good quality, and help establish a DPC transplantation therapy for growing hair."

Yoshimura and Noriyuki Aoi, M.D., both of the University of Tokyo (UT) School of Medicine, led scientists from UT, Osaka University and the Japan Science and Technology Agency in the investigation. After running more tests on how VD3 affected another crucial element for hair growth called Wnt10b gene expression, they collected DPCs from volunteers who had undergone facelifts, incubated the DPCs with VD3 and then grafted them onto hairless skin samples taken from rats.

May 15, 2012

The study, led by Dr. Kenji Miki, a cardiovascular surgeon at Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, appears in the May issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine.

Miki's team removed adult stem cells from 30 female mice and genetically modified them to mimic embryonic stem cells. They then used the modified stem cells to grow sheets of healthy heart muscle tissue and implanted them into rats with damaged heart muscle.

The implanted tissue sheets survived for four weeks and the damaged hearts of the rats that received them began to heal, they found.

"The tissue we developed not only survived but improved heart function," Dr. Miki said. "We believe this study could lead to a very real procedure to regenerate the heart."

Implanting the new cells in sheet form appeared to improve their ability to transfer to the damaged host cells, he added.

March 7, 2012

Ischemic heart disease, caused by vessel blockage, is a leading cause of death in many western countries. Studies have shown the potential of stem cells in regenerating heart tissue damaged during an attack. But even as the list of candidate cells for cardiac regeneration has expanded, none has emerged as the obvious choice, possibly because several cell types are needed to regenerate both the heart’s muscles and its vascular components.

Aside from the choice of the right cell source for tissue regeneration, the best way to deliver the stem cells is up for debate, too, as intravenous delivery and injections can be inefficient and possibly harmful. While embryonic stem cells have shown great promise for heart repairs due to their ability to differentiate into virtually any cell type, less than 10 percent of injected cells typically survive the engraftment and of that number generally only 2 percent actually colonize the heart.

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