All About Stem Cells!

All about stem cells, the possibilities of stem cell treatments / therapies including my personal thoughts & opinions. My posts are for educational purposes only.
I claim no ownership or copyright of any of the images posted except those taken by me. If you are the owner of a specific image & would like it removed, please email & I will do so promptly.

Proud Supporter of the Cell Therapy Foundation

Professional Member of the ICMS

elishablewettblog:

This is a video that Anthony Nolan have created to inform people about the process of donating stem cell and bone marrow with Anthony Nolan. The video is illustrated which makes a serious topic seem quite fun and quirky. This is a strong branding technique which I will use throughout my awareness campaign for Anthony Nolan.

In London :)

My apologies for not having any recent posts. Today I read something that reminded me of the wonderful world of Stem Cell business.

Here is an excerpt from a pathology webpage that I use as a reference for my studies. 

"…Sub-science: Trying to make predictions about things of great importance when it’s really hard to do controlled studies. Much popular "health advice", and most of psychology, education, and sociology, are sub-science. Pseudoscience: Using the language and authority of science without using its methods. Pseudoscientists thrive by telling people what they want to hear. Medical quackery is pseudoscience, and there are other pseudosciences. A charlatan is a quack who knows it’s bunk; most quacks are sincere and are fooling themselves."  

(From http://www.pathguy.com/meltdown.txt)

There are many  clinics and doctors out there in the U.S. , Latin America, Asia and Europe that offer a variety of stem cell therapies.  Treatments range in price from $3,000 to $60,000.  Treatments may be provided for anything from Autism to Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Stem cells used for these treatments may be Adipose derived, Bone Marrow based  or even embryonic in some countries.

Stem cell research has come a long way.  There is still a lot of research and studies that must be complete to fully see the best applications and how effective stem cell based therapies are for certain diseases.  Stem cells are not a panacea. 

I do believe that stem cells and regenerative medicine are going to be a huge part of the medicinal arsenal in the future. 

Researchers see restored normal function in the hippocampus and dopamine function of rats after transplanting interneurons. The findings could lead to new treatment options for schizophrenia.

Cell Transplants Could be a Novel Treatment for Schizophrenia

I had a conversation a couple of years ago with one of my mentors about the possibility of using stem cells to treat Schizophrenia.  It’s very exciting to read that research is currently being done and yielding good results.

ohyeahdevelopmentalbiology:

neurosciencestuff:

A new weapon against stroke
UC Davis stem cell study uncovers the brain-protective powers of astrocytes
One of regenerative medicine’s greatest goals is to develop new treatments for stroke. So far, stem cell research for the disease has focused on developing therapeutic neurons — the primary movers of electrical impulses in the brain — to repair tissue damaged when oxygen to the brain is limited by a blood clot or break in a vessel. New UC Davis research, however, shows that other cells may be better suited for the task.
Published today in the journal Nature Communications, the large, collaborative study found that astrocytes — neural cells that transport key nutrients and form the blood-brain barrier — can protect brain tissue and reduce disability due to stroke and other ischemic brain disorders.
“Astrocytes are often considered just ‘housekeeping’ cells because of their supportive roles to neurons, but they’re actually much more sophisticated,” said Wenbin Deng, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at UC Davis and senior author of the study. “They are critical to several brain functions and are believed to protect neurons from injury and death. They are not excitable cells like neurons and are easier to harness. We wanted to explore their potential in treating neurological disorders, beginning with stroke.”
Deng added that the therapeutic potential of astrocytes has not been investigated in this context, since making them at the purity levels necessary for stem cell therapies is challenging. In addition, the specific types of astrocytes linked with protecting and repairing brain injuries were not well understood.
The team began by using a transcription factor (a protein that turns on genes) known as Olig2 to differentiate human embryonic stem cells into astrocytes. This approach generated a previously undiscovered type of astrocyte called Olig2PC-Astros. More importantly, it produced those astrocytes at almost 100 percent purity.
The researchers then compared the effects of Olig2PC-Astros, another type of astrocyte called NPC-Astros and no treatment whatsoever on three groups of rats with ischemic brain injuries. The rats transplanted with Olig2PC-Astros experienced superior neuroprotection together with higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein associated with nerve growth and survival.  The rats transplanted with NPC-Astros or that received no treatment showed much higher levels of neuronal loss.
To determine whether the astrocytes impacted behavior, the researchers used a water maze to measure the rats’ learning and memory. In the maze, the rats were required to use memory rather than vision to reach a destination. When tested 14 days after transplantation, the rats receiving Olig2PC-Astros navigated the maze in significantly less time than the rats that received NPC-Astros or no treatment.
The investigators used cell culture experiments to determine whether the astrocytes could protect neurons from oxidative stress, which plays a significant role in brain injury following stroke. They exposed neurons co-cultured with both types of astrocytes to hydrogen peroxide to replicate oxidative stress. They found that, while both types of astrocytes provided protection, the Olig2PC-Astros had greater antioxidant effects. Further investigation showed that the Olig2PC-Astros had higher levels of the protein Nrf2, which increased antioxidant activity in the mouse neurons.
“We were surprised and delighted to find that the Olig2PC-Astros protected neurons from oxidative stress in addition to rebuilding the neural circuits that improved learning and memory,” said Deng.
The investigators also investigated the genetic qualities of the newly identified astrocytes. Global microarray studies showed they were genetically similar to the standard NPC-Astros. The Olig2PC-Astros, however, expressed more genes (such as BDNF and vasoactive endothelial growth factor, or VEGF) associated with neuroprotection. Many of these genes help regulate the formation and function of synapses, which carry signals between neurons.
Additional experiments showed that both the Olig2PC-Astros and NPC-Astros accelerated synapse development in mouse neurons. The Olig2PC-Astros, however, had significantly greater protective effects over the NPC-Astros.
In addition to being therapeutically helpful, the Olig2PC-Astros showed no tumor formation, remained in brain areas where they were transplanted and did not differentiate into other cell types, such as neurons.
“Dr. Deng’s team has shown that this new method for deriving astrocytes from embryonic stem cells creates a cell population that is more pure and functionally superior to the standard method for astrocyte derivation,” said Jan Nolta, director of the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures. “The functional improvement seen in the brain injury models is impressive, as are the higher levels of BDNF. I will be excited to see this work extended to other brain disease models such as Huntington’s disease and others, where it is known that BDNF has a positive effect.”
Deng added that the results could lead to stem cell treatments for many neurodegenerative diseases.
“By creating a highly purified population of astrocytes and showing both their therapeutic benefits and safety, we open up the possibility of using these cells to restore brain function for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, traumatic brain disorder, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury,” said Deng.

ohyeahdevelopmentalbiology:

neurosciencestuff:

A new weapon against stroke

UC Davis stem cell study uncovers the brain-protective powers of astrocytes

One of regenerative medicine’s greatest goals is to develop new treatments for stroke. So far, stem cell research for the disease has focused on developing therapeutic neurons — the primary movers of electrical impulses in the brain — to repair tissue damaged when oxygen to the brain is limited by a blood clot or break in a vessel. New UC Davis research, however, shows that other cells may be better suited for the task.

Published today in the journal Nature Communications, the large, collaborative study found that astrocytes — neural cells that transport key nutrients and form the blood-brain barrier — can protect brain tissue and reduce disability due to stroke and other ischemic brain disorders.

“Astrocytes are often considered just ‘housekeeping’ cells because of their supportive roles to neurons, but they’re actually much more sophisticated,” said Wenbin Deng, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at UC Davis and senior author of the study. “They are critical to several brain functions and are believed to protect neurons from injury and death. They are not excitable cells like neurons and are easier to harness. We wanted to explore their potential in treating neurological disorders, beginning with stroke.”

Deng added that the therapeutic potential of astrocytes has not been investigated in this context, since making them at the purity levels necessary for stem cell therapies is challenging. In addition, the specific types of astrocytes linked with protecting and repairing brain injuries were not well understood.

The team began by using a transcription factor (a protein that turns on genes) known as Olig2 to differentiate human embryonic stem cells into astrocytes. This approach generated a previously undiscovered type of astrocyte called Olig2PC-Astros. More importantly, it produced those astrocytes at almost 100 percent purity.

The researchers then compared the effects of Olig2PC-Astros, another type of astrocyte called NPC-Astros and no treatment whatsoever on three groups of rats with ischemic brain injuries. The rats transplanted with Olig2PC-Astros experienced superior neuroprotection together with higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein associated with nerve growth and survival.  The rats transplanted with NPC-Astros or that received no treatment showed much higher levels of neuronal loss.

To determine whether the astrocytes impacted behavior, the researchers used a water maze to measure the rats’ learning and memory. In the maze, the rats were required to use memory rather than vision to reach a destination. When tested 14 days after transplantation, the rats receiving Olig2PC-Astros navigated the maze in significantly less time than the rats that received NPC-Astros or no treatment.

The investigators used cell culture experiments to determine whether the astrocytes could protect neurons from oxidative stress, which plays a significant role in brain injury following stroke. They exposed neurons co-cultured with both types of astrocytes to hydrogen peroxide to replicate oxidative stress. They found that, while both types of astrocytes provided protection, the Olig2PC-Astros had greater antioxidant effects. Further investigation showed that the Olig2PC-Astros had higher levels of the protein Nrf2, which increased antioxidant activity in the mouse neurons.

“We were surprised and delighted to find that the Olig2PC-Astros protected neurons from oxidative stress in addition to rebuilding the neural circuits that improved learning and memory,” said Deng.

The investigators also investigated the genetic qualities of the newly identified astrocytes. Global microarray studies showed they were genetically similar to the standard NPC-Astros. The Olig2PC-Astros, however, expressed more genes (such as BDNF and vasoactive endothelial growth factor, or VEGF) associated with neuroprotection. Many of these genes help regulate the formation and function of synapses, which carry signals between neurons.

Additional experiments showed that both the Olig2PC-Astros and NPC-Astros accelerated synapse development in mouse neurons. The Olig2PC-Astros, however, had significantly greater protective effects over the NPC-Astros.

In addition to being therapeutically helpful, the Olig2PC-Astros showed no tumor formation, remained in brain areas where they were transplanted and did not differentiate into other cell types, such as neurons.

“Dr. Deng’s team has shown that this new method for deriving astrocytes from embryonic stem cells creates a cell population that is more pure and functionally superior to the standard method for astrocyte derivation,” said Jan Nolta, director of the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures. “The functional improvement seen in the brain injury models is impressive, as are the higher levels of BDNF. I will be excited to see this work extended to other brain disease models such as Huntington’s disease and others, where it is known that BDNF has a positive effect.”

Deng added that the results could lead to stem cell treatments for many neurodegenerative diseases.

“By creating a highly purified population of astrocytes and showing both their therapeutic benefits and safety, we open up the possibility of using these cells to restore brain function for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, traumatic brain disorder, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury,” said Deng.

Improve the Look of Your Smile Lines with LAVIV™ | www.mylaviv.com

I haven’t made any posts in a long while.  Although this is old news, LaViv won Allure magazine’s “Breakthrough Beauty” Award in 2011 and more importantly was FDA approved June 2011, I still find it interesting. LaViv (azficel-T) is made of autologous cultured fibroblasts for use as a nasolabial fold dermal filler. Expansion of fibroblasts takes 3 to 6 months and the Fibrocell labs will also cryopreserve your cells for future use. 

Currently, this is only available in the U.S. through board certified Dermatologists or Plastic surgeons who have completed Fibrocell-approved training program.

JTM | Full text | Stem cell therapy for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis: A protocol proposal

To tie in with my last post, a protocol proposal published in 2011.  This article proposed the use of Adistem technology for the treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.