Tag Archives: stem cell therapy

A Possible Way to Cure Baldness

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Meanwhile there is something important going on in the fight against baldness.

As in the majority of tissues, the hair follicle has stem cells. There are two types of stem cells that are responsible for the continuous renewal of the follicles. The first type is called active stem cells and they start dividing quite easily. Stem cells of the second type are called quiescent and in case of the new hair growth they don’t start dividing as easily. At the same time, the new hair is based primarily on quiescent cells, which attracted close attention of researchers to these cells. At first people thought that baldness was due to this type of cells. 

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Filed under Biology of Aging

Fours Stages of Curing Aging

Masha pink hair

Curing aging has 4 stages: mild aging deceleration, dramatic aging deceleration, achieving negligible senescence and rejuvenation. Today we can definitively claim that the task of mild aging deceleration is theoretically solved.

We know the drugs and interventions that slow down aging in mammals. The only thing that we don’t know is dosages, regimes and drug combinations. Defining all of that is the goal of pre-clinical and clinical studies. They can be started immediately. It is also a good idea to do clinical studies of various diets aimed at improving human longevity.

Dramatic aging deceleration will be achieved using gene therapy. Breakthrough studies of lifespan extension in old model animals happened in this area quite recently. We know the genes and delivery methods, now we need a set of powerful experiments aimed at radical life extension. The subject of the intervention will not only be the human genome, but the genomes of the human microbiota.

Rearrangement of how the genome works, as well as genetically modified stem cell therapy and therapeutic cloning can provide negligible senescence.

However, rejuvenation of the organism is likely to be competing with the idea and the very possibility of changing the body as the personality substrate to something else. It is likely that our goal will be not the youth, but creating a more advanced organism capable of solving the task of its own indestructability.

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Stem cell therapy holds promise for epileptics

Stem cells taken from the brain of a 13-year-old girl were transplanted into newborn mice and developed into a variety of brain cells almost identical to the animals’ own — a procedure that someday could be used to replace the misfiring cells in some epilepsy patients, the researchers said.

Neural stem cells, immature cells that can develop into different cell types, can be isolated in the brain. In this study, presented at the American Epilepsy Society’s annual meeting, researchers isolated neural stem cells from a teenage girl who underwent surgery on her temporal lobe for epilepsy.

Those human cells then were infected with a harmless virus that turned them green so they could be identified under a microscope, and transplanted into the brains of newborn mice. After about three weeks, the human cells had taken the shape and form of the type of brain cells where they took root, the scientists said.

“That suggests that the transplanted human cells are integrating very well into this host circuitry,” said Dr. Steven Roper, professor of neurosurgery at the University of Florida. “At least some types of epilepsy are a result of abnormalities in the circuitry that makes up that part of the brain,” Roper said. “And a lot of these might be due to a loss of certain types of neurons in these regions … where the seizures start. If we could use cells to reconstitute those lost neurons, it might actually cure the epilepsy in some cases.”

The hope, says Roper, is that when people with brain damage undergo surgery, it may be possible to isolate stem cells from excised tissue. These could then be multiplied in the lab, turned into cell types from which the person might benefit, then returned to the brain.

Read the article in New Scientist

Read more from Dr Roper’s Neurophysiology Lab at the University of Florida

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Stem Cell technology produces ‘mighty mice’

Injured mice that were treated with stem cell therapy experienced muscle repair and enhancement, creating mighty mice with bulky muscles that stayed big and strong for the rest of their lives, U.S. researchers said this past week. These findings could lead to new treatments for human diseases that would help people resist the gradual erosion of muscle strength that comes with aging, Bradley Olwin, of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and colleagues reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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Filed under Regenerative medicine

Discovery in Salamanders Could Lead to Human Limb Regeneration

By tracking individual cells in genetically modified salamanders, researchers have found an unexpected explanation for their seemingly magical ability to regrow lost limbs.

Rather than having their cellular clocks fully reset and reverting to an embryonic state, cells in the salamanders’ stumps became slightly less mature versions of the cells they’d been before. The findings could inspire research into human tissue regeneration.

“The cells don’t have to step as far back as we thought they had to, in order to regenerate a complicated thing like a limb,” said study co-author Elly Tanaka, a Max Planck Institute cell biologist. “There’s a higher chance that human or mammalian cells can be induced into doing the same thing.”

Thinkers from Aristotle to Voltaire and Charles Darwin have been fascinated by salamander regeneration, though they barely understood it. (Aristotle even confused salamanders with snakes, attributing to the latter the power of growing new eyes.) But only in the last few decades have scientists been able to study the phenomenon at high resolution.

They found that salamander regeneration begins when a clump of cells called a blastema forms at the tip of a lost limb. From the blastema come skin, muscle, bone, blood vessels and neurons, ultimately growing into a limb virtually identical to the old one.

Researchers, many of whom hoped their findings could someday be used to heal people, hypothesized that as cells joined blastemas, they “de-differentiated” and became pluripotent: able to become any type of tissue. Embryonic stem cells are also pluripotent, as are cells that have been genetically reprogrammed through a process called induced pluripotency.

Such cells have raised hopes of replacing lost or diseased tissue. They’re also difficult to control and prone to turning cancerous. These problems may well be the inevitable growing pains of early-stage research, but could also represent more fundamental limits in cellular plasticity.  If Tanaka’s right that blastema cells don’t become pluripotent, then the findings raise another possibility — not just for salamanders, but for people. Rather than pushing cellular limits, perhaps researchers could work within nature’s parameters.

“People working on stem cells are trying to de-differentiate cells in an artificial fashion,” said Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute stem cell biologist who was not involved in the study. “It will be very important for the regenerative-medicine community to take stock of what’s going on in the salamander, because they’ve been doing it for 360 million years, and found a natural way to de-differentiate their tissues.”

Having first added a gene that makes a fluorescent protein into the genomes of axolotl salamanders, Tanaka’s team removed from their eggs the cells that would eventually become legs. They fused the cells into new eggs; when these matured into adult salamanders, cells in their legs glowed under a microscope.

After the researchers amputated their salamanders’ legs, the legs regrew! Cells in the new legs also contained the fluorescent protein and glowed under a microscope, so the scientists could watch blastemas form and legs regrow in cell-by-cell detail.

Contrary to expectation, skin cells that joined the blastema later divided into skin cells. Muscle became muscle. Cartilage became cartilage. Only cells from just beneath the skin could become more than one cell type.

“People didn’t know if the salamanders were special because they forced adult tissues to become pluripotent, and whether we should look for factors that did that — or if, as we find now, we actually shouldn’t try to force cells back to a pluripotent state,” said Tanaka.

Whether this striking absence of pluripotency is universal is still unknown. The experiment needs to be replicated independently in other salamander species.

Experiments underlying the pluripotency hypothesis “have been reproduced by multiple labs,” said Sánchez Alvarado. “There’s definitely something to them. But the results from Elly’s lab seem solid. There’s clearly a paradox here.”

According to Sánchez Alvarado, those earlier experiments labeled cells with dyes that may have bled into other cells, creating the illusion of pluripotency. It’s also possible that the axolotl’s mechanisms are different from other salamanders.

If Tanaka’s findings hold, they suggest a relatively new avenue for stem cell research. Bodies might find it easier to accept cells that have been only partially reprogrammed, like those in the axolotl’s blastema, than embryonic or fully reprogrammed cells.

“The salamanders are dialing the timeline back a few steps,” he said. “They don’t go all the way back and ask a cell to catch up,” said Sánchez Alvarado.

This approach has shown promise in the lab of Harvard Stem Cell Institute co-director Douglas Melton, who last year used partial reprogramming on pancreas cells that subsequently formed other pancreas cell types.

“This represents a parallel approach for how to make cells in regenerative medicine,” said Melton at the time. “If you’ve got extra cells of one type and need another, why go all the way back to a stem cell?”

Tanaka next hopes to decipher the genetic instructions governing blastema formation. But however the pluripotency–versus–partial-reprogramming debate turns out, her team’s development of a genetically modified axolotl as a model organism for regenerative research is significant.

Read more about the study and human tissue regeneration

Maria Konovalenko
SCIENCE FOR LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION
http:/mariakonovalenko.wordpress.com/
maria.konovalenko@gmail.com

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Filed under Article, Life, Regenerative medicine, Science, Tissue rejuvenation

First Clinical Trial of Human Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy in the World Begins

Human embryonic stem cell therapy is being tried on a human for the first time in a new clinical trial. This is the first clinical trial of its kind in the world. The trial is designed to test the safety of the treatment, not how well it works. Nonetheless, this is a huge step for regenerative medicine, embryonic stem cell research and science in general!

Working in a handful of medical centers around the country, the biotech firm Geron is treating eight to 10 recent paraplegics. The patients will receive an injection of neurons to the site of the damage, followed by a short treatment of anti-rejection drugs. The first patient is reported as a patient in an Atlanta spinal cord and brain injury rehabilitation hospital. To take part in the study, the patient had to have suffered a spinal or brain injury that resulted in paralysis from the chest down. This patient was injected with cells derived from human embryonic stem cells obtained from a fertility clinic. Researchers are optimistic that this human embryonic stem cell therapy will not only help alleviate the symptoms of the injury, but permanently repair the damage that caused the paralysis from the spinal cord injury.

Embryonic stem cell-derived neural cells have been used by researchers to treat nervous system disorders in animal models. In the case of spinal cord injuries, neural cells derived from animal embryonic stem cells and injected into the spinal cord injury site produced significant recovery of the animal’s ability to move and bear weight.

To apply those observations to humans, Geron had derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (GRNOPC1) from Human Embryonic Stem Cells (HESCs). “Initiating the GRNOPC1 clinical trial is a milestone for the field of human embryonic stem cell-based therapies,” said Thomas B. Okarma , Geron’s president and CEO. “When we started our work back in 1999, many predicted that it would be a number of decades before a cell therapy would be approved for human clinical trials. This accomplishment results from extensive research and development and a succession of inventive steps to enable production of cGMP master cell banks, scalable manufacture of differentiated cell product, and preclinical studies in vitro and in animal models of spinal cord injury, leading to concurrence by the FDA to initiate the clinical trial.”

Stem cells have attracted huge scientific and public interest, not only because they bear the promise of miracle cures for age-related diseases, but also because their medical use is so appealing: stem-cell therapies like those that have recently begun could augment the human body’s own regenerative capacity, which declines as we grow older. The appropriate source of cells for these applications is hotly debated, but the technical feasibility of generating replacement tissues and organs is now within realistic projections.

Read more about the human embryonic stem cell therapy clinical trials

Maria Konovalenko
SCIENCE FOR LIFE EXTENSION FOUNDATION
http:/mariakonovalenko.wordpress.com/
maria.konovalenko@gmail.com

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Filed under Regenerative medicine