Almost three years after a Bay Area company shut down the world’s first clinical trial of a therapy using embryonic stem cells, another local company is reviving the therapy. On Wednesday, Asterias said it had gained regulatory permission to test whether the treatment, which is derived from human embryonic stem cells, helps heal patients with a different kind of spinal cord injury. Created by voters a decade ago, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is authorized to spend $3 billion on stem cell research, and its future rests on the results, including any potential therapies, that those scientists and companies develop. Clearing 1st hurdle after struggling for years to get permission to start a clinical trial, Geron abandoned it in November 2011, saying it couldn’t afford to continue. In the upcoming trial with 13 patients, Asterias hopes to show the treatment is not only safe, but can also aid recovery from paralysis - a point Geron never reached. In 2001, then-President George W. Bush limited federal tax dollars for embryonic stem cell research, a policy that President Obama overturned by executive order in 2009, and some states have placed their own restrictions on such research. ViaCyte, a privately held company in San Diego, said this month that it won regulatory permission to start the first test of an embryonic stem cell-derived therapy in patients with Type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes and Stem Cells Hope Hype and Progress Public Forum
It is often stated that one day we maybe able to treat type 1 diabetes with stem cells. But what is actually involved and how close are we to it being a reality?
In this forum, members of the public learnt from leading scientists and clinicians involved in this important research about the latest developments using stem cells to combat type 1 diabetes.
Learn about different approaches including an implant made from stem cells that would allow the production of insulin within the body, and a new study to investigate how to prevent or delay the onset of Type 1 Diabetes in high-risk children using cord blood.
Held in conjunction with the “Therapeutic Potential of Stem Cells: Prospects & Pitfalls” symposium, a joint initiative of the Bio21 Cluster and Stem Cells Australia.
Stem Cell Therapies Hold Promise, But Obstacles Remain
Read the full article Stem Cell Therapies Hold Promise, But Obstacles Remain at NeuroscienceNews.com.
In an article appearing online today in the journal Science, a group of researchers, including University of Rochester neurologist Steve Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., review the potential and challenges facing the scientific community as therapies involving stem cells move closer to reality.
The research is in Science. (full access paywall)
Research: “Use of differentiated pluripotent stem cells as replacement therapy for treating disease” by Ira J. Fox, George Q. Daley, Steven A. Goldman, Johnny Huard, Timothy J. Kamp, and Massimo Trucco in Science. doi:10.1126/science.1247391
Image: The article focuses pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), which are stem cells that can give rise to all cell types. These include both embryonic stem cells, and those derived from mature cells that have been “reprogrammed” or “induced”, a process typically involving a patient’s own skin cells, so that they possess the characteristics of stem cells found at the earliest stage of development. Credit University of Rochester Medical Center.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have launched a clinical trial to investigate the safety of neural stem cell transplantation in patients with chronic spinal cord injuries. This Phase I clinical trial is recruiting eight patients for the 5-year study.
“The goal of this study is to evaluate the safety of transplanting neural stem cells into the spine for what one day could be a treatment for spinal cord injuries,” said Joseph Ciacci, MD, principal investigator and neurosurgeon at UC San Diego Health System. “The study’s immediate goal, however, is to determine whether injecting these neural stem cells into the spine of patients with spinal cord injury is safe.”
Related goals of the clinical trial include evaluating the stem cell graft’s survival and the effectiveness of immunosuppression drugs to prevent rejection. The researchers will also look for possible therapeutic benefits such as changes in motor and sensory function, bowel and bladder function, and pain levels.
Patients who are accepted for the study will have spinal cord injury to the T7-T12 level of the spine’s vertebrae and will have incurred their injury between one and two years ago.
All participants will receive the stem cell injection. The scientists will use a line of human stem cells approved by the U.S. FDA for human trials in patients with chronic traumatic spinal injuries. These cells were previously tested for safety in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Since stem cell transplantation for spinal cord injury is just beginning clinical tests, unforeseen risks, complications or unpredictable outcomes are possible. Careful clinical testing is essential to ensure that this type of therapy is developed responsibly with appropriate management of the risks that all medical therapies may present.
Pre-clinical studies of these cells by Ciacci and Martin Marsala, MD, at the UC San Diego School of Medicine, showed that these grafted neural stem cells improved motor function in spinal cord injured rats with minimal side effects indicating that human clinical trials are now warranted.
This clinical trial at UC San Diego Health System is funded by Neuralstem, Inc. and was launched and supported by the UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center. The Center was recently created to advance leading-edge stem cell medicine and science, protect and counsel patients, and accelerate innovative stem cell research into patient diagnostics and therapy.
To learn more about eligibility for this clinical trial, please call Amber Faulise at 858-657-5175 or email her at email@example.com
Scientists at Michigan State University say a gene known as ASF1A could be critical to the development of stem cells.
In what’s being hailed as a scientific first, researchers in Scotland have created a fully functional organ from scratch inside the body of a living animal. The feat—the creation of a working thymus gland from “reprogrammed” embryonic …
Wow! The thymus is a very important organ—a type of immune cell called a T cell migrates from the bone marrow to the thymus to mature. T cells are part of the body’s immune response to specific invaders. Their functions include killing virus-infected cells, secreting chemicals to rally other immune cells, and keeping the immune response from going out of control. While the thymus itself shrinks with age and is nearly gone after puberty, what remains of it continues to produce T cells later in life to replenish the ones that die off.
An interesting note about embryonic stem cells: they’re taken from a stage in development called the blastocyst. This is the stage right before three layers of cells form—the ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm—which give rise to the different tissue types. The point where these layers form, which occurs at around fourteen days into development, is the boundary after which the embryo can no longer separate and form twins. For the purposes of stem cell research, it’s thus usually the point where the embryo is considered a discrete organism, and harvesting stem cells is done before the fourteen day mark.
Finding a Clinical Trial - NIH Clinical Research Trials and You - National Institutes of Health (NIH)
If anyone you know is looking for a clinical trial, involving stem cells or other forms of treatment, refer them to this link.
Schools may still participate, but they are urged to donate to a different group
This is the reason for my prior post.
"Regardless of religious objections to embryonic stem cell research, folks can still donate to the ALS Association. A spokesperson from ALS Association explained to the Washington Post that people can specify if they want their donations to go to stem cell research, or not."
When I was in high school they made it seem like stem cells were evil. They did not explain that there are different types, where they came from or what they could possibly treat. (I attended Catholic school from kindergarten until I completed high school.)
We were told that stem cell came from embryos. Although really far-fetched, (if I remember correctly), I believe their fear was that one day females everywhere would line up at women’s clinics for money and sell their embryos — like a blood donation. These embryos would then be used to harvest stem cells. Back then, when I heard my teachers speak, it was as if they were telling tales out of a science fiction novel.
One of my goals, is to educate as many people as possible about stem cells. There is still so much to learn about them. They have so much potential to heal a variety of diseases, including ALS.
If someone you know does not want to donate to the ALS Association or participate in the “bucket challenge” due to moral reasons, please let them know that people can specify if they want their donations to go to stem cell research, or not.
At this point in time, I would hope that people are more aware of what stem cell science is and what can be achieved through it. That there is more to it than embryos. People should know that an adult has stem cells throughout their body. Our peers should know that bone marrow (hematopoietic) stem cells have been in use for years to treat cancers and immune system disorders. Adipose-derived stem cells have been researched for a long time now, hopefully one day they will become a common part of the medical community’s arsenal to fight disease.
Stem cells are being touted as the secret to younger-looking skin. But it’s not what you think