Stem Cell - Archive

April – March 2008: Stem Cell Research

NEW! Adult Stem Cells Used in Treating Wounded Soldiers From Iraq, Afghanistan 

Embryo-Destructive Stem Cell Research Patent Battle

JAMA Video: Adult Stem Cell Research Trumps Embryonic in Helping Patients

Alabama Man Takes a Chance on Heart-Healing Treatment

NEW! Researchers Report Success with Cord Blood Stem Cells & Alzheimer's

NEW! iPS Reprogrammed Stem Cells Reduce Parkinson's Disease in Rats…

ADULT STEM CELLS USED TO TREAT WOUNDED SOLDIERS FROM IRAQ & AFGHANISTAN. Pro-life advocates have long supported the use of adult stem cells over embryonic stem cell research because no human life is destroyed in obtaining the cells.

Now, new reports show wounded soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan are helped by the ethical stem cells.

Showing how far adult stem cells have come in a very short time, our wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are being treated with their own stem cells to help treat wounds involving bones.

According to ABC News, the Bush administration has spent $85 million to fund the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine.

Dr. Thomas Einhorn, the chairman of orthopaedic surgery at the Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center, has used adult stem cells to repair a patient's hip after conventional surgeries failed.

Noted bioethics watchdog Wesley Smith says he's not surprised by the news. "Illustrating how the hype overcame reality, the story's author felt the need to say that the stem cells did not come from embryos," he said.

But, as pro-life advocates know, "no human applications have yet come from human embryonic stem cells." Smith added: "It will not take much time for this procedure to become available in the civilian sector. The good news just keeps coming." [21April08, Washington, DC LifeNews.com] 

 

 

 

 

EMBRYONIC STEM CELL RESEARCH PATENT BATTLE: Patent Office Upholds Main Wisconsin Trademark. Some say the battle over embryonic stem cell research funding is the main source of contention in the stem cell research debate.

However, for scientists, it's about patents.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which holds the original patent on embryonic stem cells, has been a thorn in some scientists' side because it control how scientists can use the controversial stem cells and how much it costs to use them.

Last week, in the first of what will be a succession of decisions, the United States Patent and Trademark Office upheld WARF's claims to its main patent.

Patent challengers say they plan to appeal and fight to make the embryonic stem cells more freely available.

"This fight over money illustrates a phenomenon that is too little understood in the country today," bioethics observers Wesley J. Smith said about the decision. "Science has become a commercial enterprise–even in the ivory covered walls of the university. The days of 'publish or perish' are over. The current mantra is patent or perish."

[3Mar08, LifeNews.com; DC]

ED.NOTE: Funding will become increasingly difficult to obtain for embryo-destructive stem cell research. Private funding is going with the ethical adult/umbilical cord/iPSC stem cell research because it is actually being used in successful clinical trials and treatments. Embryonic stem cell research still has produced NO successes whatsoever, primarily because of the danger of tumor production, and the rejection issues.

 

ADULT STEM CELL RESEARCH TRUMPS EMBRYONIC SCR IN HELPING PATIENTS. A new article in the Journal of the American Medical Association [JAMA. 2008;299[8]:925-936] makes it clear adult stem cell research is leading the way in providing tangible assistant to patients with a variety of ailments.

The article validates bioethicists who have said the use of adult stem cells can treat a wide variety of diseases already. Richard K. Burt, M.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and colleagues conducted a review of articles on both types of stem cell research.

They found dozens of applications for adult stem cells appearing to justify the famous list Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council produced showing the cells working with over 70 diseases.

They reviewed clinical trials involving adult stem cells during the past ten years and found they are helping patients who have a variety of diseases and even heart trouble. Some scientists and political groups wanting to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research discounted the list and claimed Prentice had overstated the usefulness of adult stem cells. The JAMA article appears to validate the list. [27Feb08, LifeNews.com]

 

 

Adult Stem Cells Are Helping Patients with Autoimmune Diseases and Cardiovascular Disorders : The results presented in the JAMA paper speak for themselves.

VIDEO: ADULT STEM CELLS ARE HELPING PATIENTS WITH AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISORDERS

http://pubs.ama-assn.org/media/2008j/0226.dtl#vnrscript

[JAMA. 2008;299[8]:925-936]

USE OF ADULT STEM CELLS MAY BE BENEFICIAL FOR SOME PATIENTS WITH CERTAIN CARDIOVASCULAR DISORDERS AND AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES
Embargoed for Release: 3:00 p.m. CT, Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Media Advisory: To contact Richard K. Burt, M.D., call Marla Paul at
312-503-8928.
http://pubs.ama-assn.org/media/2008j/0226.dtl#2

CHICAGO [26Feb08]-A review of previously published research suggests that stem
cells harvested from an adult’s blood or marrow may provide treatment
benefit to select patients for some autoimmune diseases and cardiovascular disorders, according to an article in the February 27 issue of JAMA.

In broad terms, there are two types of stem cells, embryonic stem cells
and adult stem cells.

Human embryonic stem cells are isolated from a 4-to 5-day-old postfertilization blastocyst (an early form in thedevelopment of an embryo). Adult stem cells are located in tissuesthroughout the body and function as a reservoir to replace damaged or
aging cells.

[Embryonic] Stem cell therapy is rapidly developing… "but clinical application has lagged due to ethical concerns or difficulties in harvesting or safely and efficiently expanding sufficient quantities.

"In contrast, clinical indications for blood-derived (from peripheral or umbilical cord blood) and bone marrow-derived stem cells, which can be easily and safely harvested, are rapidly increasing," the authors write.

Richard K. Burt, M.D., of the Northwestern University Feinberg School
of Medicine, Chicago, and colleagues conducted a review of articles
regarding clinical indications and outcomes for use of blood- and bone
marrow-derived stem cells.

A search of databases identified 323 reports that were examined for feasibility and toxicity, and 69 that wereevaluated for outcomes. These studies were published between January1997 and December 2007.

For autoimmune diseases, 26 reports representing 854 patients reported
treatment-related mortality of less than one percent (2/220 patients)
for nonmyeloablative (not causing bone marrow suppression), less than
two percent (3/197) for dose-reduced myeloablative, and 13 percent
(13/100) for intense myeloablative regimens, i.e., those including total
body irradiation or high-dose busulfan (a drug used in the treatment of
some types of chronic leukemia).

"While all trials performed during the inflammatory stage of autoimmune
disease suggested that transplantation of hematopoietic [formation of
blood or blood cells] stem cells (HSCs) may have a potent
disease-remitting effect, remission duration remains unclear, and no
randomized trials have been published," the researchers write.

For reports involving cardiovascular diseases, including 17 reports
involving 1,002 heart attack patients, 16 reports involving 493 patients
with chronic coronary artery disease, and three meta-analyses, the
evidence suggested that stem cell transplantation performed in patients
with coronary artery disease may contribute to modest improvement in
cardiac function.

"Stem cells harvested from blood or marrow, whether administered as
purified HSCs or mesenchymal [cells that develop into connective tissue,
blood vessels and lymphatic tissue] stem cells or as an unmanipulated or
unpurified product can, under appropriate conditions in select patients,
provide disease-ameliorating effects in some autoimmune diseases and
cardiovascular disorders. Clinical trials are needed to determine the
most appropriate cell type, dose, method, timing of delivery, and
adverse effects of adult HSCs for these and other nonmalignant
disorders," the authors conclude. [http://pubs.ama-assn.org/media/2008j/0226.dtl#2]
[JAMA. 2008;299[8]:925-936. www.jamamedia.org/]

 

ALABAMA MAN TAKES A CHANCE ON HEART-HEALING TREATMENT. At age 47, David S. was out of options. The Alabama man has severe coronary artery disease and has exhausted traditional therapies.

Despite medicine, two bypass surgeries and a stent, Smith has severe daily chest pain and is just waiting for another heart attack. 

That's why he underwent experimental treatment in March08.

An interventional cardiologist at Princeton Baptist Medical Center injected his adult stem cells (or, possibly, a placebo) into the patient's heart with the hope of stimulating the growth of new blood vessels to restore adequate blood supply and improve the heart's pumping.
 
The physician injected stem cells into the heart of his first patient in the clinical trial at the end of January, a first for a hospital in Alabama. This was his third and final patient participating in the study, which has enrolled 165 people nationwide at 24 sites.
 
"What we're really trying to do is trick the body into building its own bypass in people who can't get a bypass or stent," the physician said.
 
The last patient of the study nationwide will undergo treatment next week, and it will be more than a year before results are known.
 
Princeton Baptist spent 18 months preparing for the trial. The hospital invested $200,000 in technology needed for the treatment. Mendelsohn screened trial participants, who then had to be approved by an outside review board of physicians who agreed the patients had no other options. 

Because the treatment is part of a trial, one in three patients gets placebo instead of stem cell injections. Two of three participants get their own stem cells, either in a high or low dose. 

Neither the patient nor the physician will know for a year whether he got stem cells or placebo. It was a chance he was willing to take. He wants to further the research for his 16-year-old, even if not for himself.
 
"I've got a son, and most likely he's got the disease," he said; his father died from heart disease at 45. "I'll do anything that can help him." 

The blood stem cells needed for this trial stay primarily in bone marrow.

To coax them out into the bloodstream in large numbers, he got injections of a specific protein five days in a row.

On Tuesday he had apheresis, a process that collected the increased number of white cells, including the stem cells. 

The cells were then taken to the stem cell processing lab at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Scientists in the lab used a machine Wednesday that separated from all the cells the exact stem cells needed — blood stem cells that mature into the building blocks for new blood vessels. 

Baxter Healthcare, maker of the stem cell selection machine, has underwritten the cost of the trial with the hope that the equipment will get federal approval for use in this type of cardiac treatment. Th

e device has been approved for cancer care for a decade. 

The stem cells were delivered to Princeton in a cooler, and Smith went into the catheterization lab Wednesday afternoon.

In the more than two-hour procedure, the physician first worked a catheter up from Smith's leg to his heart to map where he wanted to inject the stem cells. By touching many areas of the heart with the catheter, he mapped which tissue was dead, which tissue was healthy and which tissue was salvageable but not pumping because of lack of blood flow.
 
Once he had pinpointed the 10 best places to inject the stem cells, he worked into the heart a different catheter that had an injection tip. He delivered the doses to the tissue that was still alive but needed blood flow.
 
Although study participants won't know for many months if the study was successful, patients could start feeling better sooner.
 
Animal studies have shown new blood vessel growth in 12 weeks after stem cell injections. 

The current stem cell trial is finishing its second phase. If results warrant it, a third and final phase could begin a year. 

The trial is the 20th that this physician has participated in investigating different ways to promote angiogenesis, the body's development of new blood vessels. He has done cardiac and vascular studies using growth factors and gene therapy and now stem cells.
 
Even studies that were not successes have been helpful in understanding how to help the body repair itself, said the Birmingham native who got his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University. 

"This cascade of events for rebuilding blood vessels is very complicated," he said. 

This is Smith's third study as a participant. Some days he's too weak to walk to the mailbox. He has been retired from his job since 2001 and can't fully enjoy time with his son. 

The physician thinks the stem cell trial is Smith's best shot at a better life: "This is one of the most promising therapies available anywhere for that desperate patient population". [The Birmingham News, 3/7/2008, Anna Velasco, AP, Birmingham AL; al.com]

 

RESEARCHERS HAVE CORD BLOOD ON THE BRAIN. Surprising even the scientific field, researchers announced an unexpected breakthrough last week with stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood.

Believed by many to be a source only for making blood, these stem cells have proven extremely useful in reducing the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

When given to mice with a form of Alzheimer's, the stem cells from human umbilical cord blood were uniquely effective in slowing the progress of the disease, which is characterized by the accumulation of protein plaque deposits that cause inflammation.

Low doses of cord blood stem cells, given intravenously, decreased the inflammation and plaque in the brain. This is especially important since the plaque and inflammation can also lead to breakdown of the normal blood-brain barrier, further increasing inflammation.

The cumulative effect is a loss of brain neurons and the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. By inhibiting the inflammatory proteins, the cord blood stem cells appeared to work well in mice, suggesting that they might one day be useful in stopping the physical and mental decline seen with Alzheimer's disease in humans.

Adult Stem Cell Treatments- 9 Faces of Success, http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=BC06I01&f=WA08C55 [31March08, Family Research Council] … 

 

 

iPS REPROGRAMMED STEM CELLS REDUCE PARKINSON'S DISEASE IN RATS. MIT researchers say they have used the new Yamanaka cell reprogramming technique to treat Parkinson's disease in rats.

This new type of iPS (induced Pluripotent Stem) cell is made by adding three or four genes to a normal skin cell, reprogramming it so that it acts like an embryonic stem cell but without using embryos, eggs, or cloning.

Rats treated with iPS cells showed reduced Parkinson's symptoms; however, many also showed tumor development, a typical result with any embryonic stem cell.

This is the team's second report showing that iPS cells can improve disease symptoms in mice. It follows a study last month in which a New York group tried the same experiment in mice but used cloning to make the embryonic stem cells. That group also showed some success, but their mice experienced what they termed "graft overgrowth."

This inefficient cloning process used over 5,000 eggs to produce cloned embryos and fewer than 200 dishes of cells. [ed. If this had been human embryos, over 5,000 human lives would have been destroyed…]

At least 18 publications over the last year and a half have shown that iPS cells are as good as or better than stem cells produced by destroying embryos.

There is no valid reason for any human cloning, embryo destruction, or animal-human hybrids. If scientists want embryonic stem cells, they can get them easily, ethically, and efficiently with iPS cells.

Resource: Parkinson's In Rats Treated Effectively With Reprogrammed Skin Cells
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/103248.php?CFID=766338&CFTOKEN=7ffc43c36d2faa4d-

3A3AE217-9C28-9018-6FE57DE23B06A155