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Building Beyond Berlin - Effective Stem Cell HIV Treatment

Researchers experimentally mimic the “Berlin patient” by creating an HIV-resistant selectable stem cell population which can reconstitute the mouse hematopoietic system and resist HIV infection

Nanotubes from Stem Cell Progeny Help to Correct Storage Disorder

Hematopoietic stem cells differentiate into macrophages and correct a lysosomal storage disorder through nanotube-mediated lysosomal exchange

Autologous Hematopoietic Cell Therapy for Stroke Assessed in Humans

Early intervention with autologous blood stem/progenitor cells shows promise in promoting functional recovery and reduces lesion volume after ischemic stroke

New Hematopoietic Stem Cell Therapy Assessed in Stroke

A new study demonstrates the safety and feasibility of autologous CD34+ bone marrow cells for the treatment of ischemic stroke

Less Food, Better Haematopoietic Function?

Fasting for an extended period of time is shown to protect and enhance the function of the hematopoietic system through signalling mechanisms involving IGF-1 and PKA

Human Stem Cell Gene Therapy – Safe and Effective

Two recent studies in Science reporting the outcome of lentivirally-mediated gene correction in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) to treat human patients have potentially ushered in a new era of safe and effective gene therapy.   Herein, we report on these exciting new clinical findings, both from the laboratory of Luigi Naldini at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy, on the treatment of metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), caused by mutations in the arylsulfatase A (ARSA) gene, and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS), caused by mutations in the gene encoding WASP.

Antibody Mediated Transdifferentiation

"Autocrine signaling based selection of combinatorial antibodies that transdifferentiate human stem cells"

The group of Richard A. Lerner at The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA have previously described a means of expressing antibodies through lentiviral infection of cells and studying how the cells are affected in an autocrine manner (Zhang et al) through interactions with membrane bound co-expressed receptors. In a recent report in PNAS they now describe a co-expression system of an antibody library with the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor receptor (G-CSFR), and have isolated agonist antibodies which can transdifferentiate human CD34+ haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) into neural progenitor cells (NPCs) (Xie et al).

Protecting Haematopoietic Stem Cells from Radiation

Original article from STEM CELLS

"Prostaglandin E2 Increases Hematopoietic Stem Cell Survival and Accelerates Hematopoietic Recovery After Radiation Injury"

Modulation of the bone marrow microenvironment to allow the expansion and engraftment of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) following transplantation has shown some success (Adams et al, Bormberg et al, Calvi et al and Mendez-Ferrer et al). Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) has recently been shown to improve HSPC repopulating ability through the activation of EP2 and EP4 receptors (Goessling et al, Hoggatt et al and North et al) but little is known of the distinct mechanisms behind this action (Frisch et al). In a recent study published in Stem Cells, researchers from the laboratory of Laura M. Calvi at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, New York have shown that PGE2 treatment in naïve mice inhibits apoptosis of HSPCs without changing their proliferation rate and decreased the loss of functional HSPCs following radiation injury, as demonstrated both phenotypically and by their increased reconstitution capacity (Porter et al).

Exciting new treatment AID under trial for HIV

Prominent Australian stem cell scientist and current Director of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Professor Alan Trounson has announced that a potential cure for HIV is about to enter human clinical trials. The treatment takes advantage of the fact that a small proportion of humans are immune to HIV as they have a specific gene mutation which disables the CCR5 receptor that the HIV virus needs to invade cells of the immune system. The research about to be trialled utilises blood stem cells carrying this mutation to armour the body against HIV, which will be delivered to patients in the form of a bone marrow transplant. This approach follows in the wake of the ‘Berlin patient’ Timothy Brown, the only known person worldwide to have been cured of HIV following a life-saving bone marrow transplant from a donor carrying the HIV-resistant mutation to treat leukaemia.   Introducing immune cells which have a disabled HIV receptor effectively stops the virus reproducing, but does not cause any harmful effects to the patient. Prof. Trounson however stated that even if the trials are successful it may take another six to seven years before the treatment is widely available, but if the treatment works properly could cure patients of the infection and eliminate the need for lifelong antiviral drugs.   He also stated that this approach will require careful scrutiny as bone marrow transplants can pose significant risks and side effects, given that antiviral drug medication currently allows HIV patients 30 to 40 years of relatively good health. It may also need further modification to allow affordable access to patients where the disease is most prevalent, in sub-Saharan Africa.

Proof of principle for transfusion of in vitro generated red blood cells

From Blood
By Stuart P. Atkinson

The chronic lack of donated blood, with an annual requirement of nearly 90 million units worldwide presents a major problem which, with an increasing world population, will only get worse. Apart from typical blood donation, another possible source of blood cells is through in vitro manipulations of stem cell populations, such as circulating haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) or, potentially, embryonic stem cells (ESCs) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs); the latter being particularly attractive for patients with blood-related disease. The advantages of stem cell-derived blood are many; these could potentially provide an unlimited source of the various blood types, and reduce the risk of infectious disease from donated blood. However, to date, the transfusion potential of stem cell-derived blood products generated in vitro has yet to be assessed in man. Now in a study (Giarratana et al) from the group of Luc Douay at UPMC University Paris, France, published online in Blood, these issues have been addressed. They report that in vitro-derived reticulocytes (cultured red blood cells; cRBCs) have a similar functional capacity to native reticulocytes, can mature appropriately in mouse and, importantly, they report the successful transfusion and in vivo survival of cRBCs in a human patient.

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