Adult & Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Research (Ethical)

Video: A Story of Recovering from Cancer using an Adult Stem Cell Transplant

Today the Charlotte Lozier Institute releases its fourth Stem Cell Research Facts video; this story features Cindy Schroeder’s recovery from multiple myeloma after an adult stem cell transplant. Cindy Schroeder had always lived an active life. A wife, mother of three, and special education teacher, Cindy drove more than 150 miles each day from school to school before returning home. Her life changed, however, when she began experiencing a crippling exhaustion upon waking, coughs that never seemed to go away, and eventually even trouble breathing. “Everything simple for others became a major deal for me,” recalled Cindy. Finally, after a bout of coughing up blood one day, Cindy’s husband urged her to visit the doctor. The diagnosis was multiple myeloma, a blood cancer in which abnormal blood cells accumulate in the bone marrow, interfering with the production of normal blood cells. Multiple myeloma is considered incurable, but treatable. “We were in the room and the doctor told her, ‘Cindy, you have cancer,’” says Ralph Ostmeyer, Cindy’s father. “She started to cry, and he says, ‘Cindy, don’t cry, we have a cure. It’s (adult) stem cell. You are a good candidate and the success rate is excellent if we can get good cells from your body.’ So that’s what we set out to do.” Watch Cindy share her road to recovery surrounded by loving family in CLI’s new video — https://lozierinstitute.org/video-brink-back-story-recovering-cancer-using-adult-stem-cell-transplant/ Many others like Cindy are currently being treated using ethically-derived, non-controversial adult stem cell transplants, which do not require the destruction of young human life. In fact, well over one million patients worldwide have been treated using adult stem...

U.S. House: Passed Ban on Production of 3-Parent Human Embryos & Reauthorized Programs Using Ethical Adult Stem Cells

US: Legislation Passes to Ban Production of 3 Parent Embryos The US House of Representatives passed legislation banning the creation of 3 parent embryos. This past year, Chinese, British and American scientists have been praising the potential of genetically modified human embryos, a practice the UK parliament approved earlier this year. In the US, while federal funding for research that creates or destroys a human embryo is prohibited, there is no prohibition on the practice in a clinical setting. The new legislation, sponsored by pro-life advocate Rep Robert Aderholt, remedies that by prohibiting “research in which a human embryo is intentionally created or modified to include a heritable genetic modification”. The Aderholt language was included in the Omnibus spending bill. [47 New Pro-Life Laws Enacted in US; PNCI Global News_Dec 22, 2015] US: Bill Authorizing Adult Stem Cell Treatments The US Congress has passed the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act (HR 2820), reauthorizing programs that utilize adult stem cells and cord blood stem cells to treat a range of diseases in adults and children. Passage ensures the adult stem cell programs will be funded through 2020, and the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program and National Cord Blood Inventory will be funded for another five years. “It remains one of the best kept secrets in America that umbilical cord blood stem cells and adult stem cells in general are curing people of a myriad of terrible conditions and diseases in adults as well as children. “Cord blood, which was once seen as medical waste, is now making miracles,” said bill sponsor Rep. Smith. HR 2820 was championed...

Chicago Woman Is First Adult Cured Of Sickle Cell Disease With Chemo-Free Technique

Ieshea Thomas, a Chicago woman, is the first adult to be cured of sickle cell disease with the chemotherapy-free procedure at UI Hospital. Iesha Thomas has been in and out of hospitals battling sickle cell disease since she was only 8 months old. This summer, 33-year-old Thomas became the first adult to be cured of sickle cell disease with a chemotherapy-free procedure at University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System (UI Health), the University reported. Thomas is one of 12 adult patients cured of sickle cell disease as part of a clinical trial at UI Health that used a unique procedure for stem cell transplantation from healthy tissue matched from a sibling donor. Findings from phase I/II of the clinical trial are published online in the journal Biology of Blood & Marrow Transplantation. A Less Harsh Treatment Stem cell transplants have been used for years as a means of possibly curing sickle cell disease. However, before the stem cell transplant could be completed patients would have to endure a taxing course of drugs to kill the cancer cells, otherwise known as chemotherapy. The more traditional form of stem cell transplant uses chemotherapy to destroy the patient’s own bone marrow, which shuts down their immune system and makes them vulnerable to infections. The new technique – first developed and performed at the National Institutes of Health campus in Maryland – eliminates the need for chemotherapy to prepare the patient to receive the transplanted cells and offers the prospect of cure for tens of thousands of adults suffering from sickle cell disease – many of them Black Americans. According to...

Wound Healing: Extracellular Matrix (ECM)

EXTRACELLULAR MATRIX  ECM The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a complex structural entity surrounding and supporting cells that are found within mammalian tissues. The ECM is often referred to as the connective tissue. The ECM is composed of 3 major classes of biomolecules: 1. Structural proteins: collagen and elastin. 2. Specialized proteins: e.g. fibrillin, fibronectin, and laminin. 3. Proteoglycans: these are composed of a protein core to which is attached long chains of repeating disaccharide units termed of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) forming extremely complex high molecular weight components of the ECM. Proteoglycans are covered in the section on Glycosaminoglycans and Proteoglycans. [http://themedicalbiochemistrypage.org/extracellularmatrix.html] Key Points    1. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the largest component of normal skin and gives the skin its unique properties of elasticity, tensile strength and compressibility.    2. In acute wounds the provisional wound matrix, containing fibrin and fibronectin, provides a scaffolding to direct cells into the injury, as well as stimulating them to proliferate, differentiate and synthesise new ECM.    3. Chronic wounds contain increased levels of inflammatory cells, giving rise to elevated levels of proteases that appear to degrade the ECM components, growth factors and receptors that are essential for healing.    4. Understanding of the importance of re-establishing a functional ECM in chronic wounds has led to technical advances and the development of products that reduce excessive protease levels or contribute functional ECM proteins, thereby facilitating the healing process. Abstract The extracellular matrix (ECM) is the largest component of the dermal skin layer and the synthesis of ECM is a key feature of wound healing, especially when there has been a significant loss of...

Recent Adult Stem Cell Research Educational Campaign — www.stemcellresearchfacts.org

Recent Adult Stem Cell Research Educational Campaign — www.stemcellresearchfacts.org With the never-ending battles over abortion and health care, the pro-life community may be lulled into forgetting that other fights exist on the bioethics front. To keep those concerns at the forefront, the Family Research Council is launching a new adult stem cell research educational campaign. "It's no longer a dream," FRC tells LifeNews.com. "Now there's living proof that adult stem cell treatments are creating medical miracles for cancer, blood diseases, immune disorders, and heart damage." Last November 2009, FRC gave the public and pro-life advocates in the Kansas City area a chance to meet patients who are living miracles through its new Adult Stem Cells Saved My Life campaign. The event took place at noon at the Shawnee Town Hall in Shawnee, Kansas. The choice of Kansas City as the location of the launch of the new campaign is not an arbitrary one. It has become ground zero in the embryonic stem cell research and human cloning battles. "The Kansas City metropolitan area has become one of the strategic centers in the Midwest for the life sciences, including Adult Stem Cell and cord blood research and treatments," FRC notes. "Between St. Luke's Hospital, Children's Mercy Hospital, and the University of Kansas Medical Center, these pioneering treatment centers have treated over 1,500 patients with adult stem cells." It is also the location of the Stowers research institute, where scientists are destroying human beings at their earliest stages for embryonic research that has never passed significant hurdles in animals to even be tried in human patients. Missouri was also the location...

Scientists Cure Sickle Cell Anemia in Mice (UAB, Whitehead 2008)

Scientists Cure Sickle Cell Anemia in Mice: Adult Skin Cells Coaxed to Produce Embryonic-like Properties Published in UAB Insight, Winter 2008 A team of scientists from UAB and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research have cured mice with humanized sickle cell anemia using a method that involves reprogramming skin fibroblasts to an embryonic-stem-cell-like state. This process, which does not involve the use of embryos, is the first proof-of-principle in animals of a therapy using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells (Science. 2007;318:1920-1923). The iPS cells have many of the same critical properties that have made embryonic stem cells the focus of intense research. “The iPS cells express a number of the key genes expressed by embryonic stem cells, can be converted into virtually any cell type — brain, blood, lung, and liver, for example — and can divide to make more cells with the same attributes,” says UAB Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics Chair Tim M. Townes, MD, coauthor of the Science paper. “Like embryonic stem cells, iPS cells hold tremendous therapeutic promise. Once skin cells are converted to iPS cells, we can correct disease-causing mutations in vitro and transplant corrected cells back into the body where they start generating normal cells,” he says. This scenario is precisely what the UAB/Whitehead Institute team achieved with the sickle cell mouse models, and Townes believes that adapting the technique for use in humans is only a matter of time. The technique used to create iPS cells, which hold vast therapeutic potential, avoids the ethical storm surrounding embryonic stem cell work. “The process of generating iPS cells bypasses creation of a blastocyst...

Sampling of Recent Stem Cell Research Reports Since September2008

First published online September 11, 2008 Stem Cells Vol. 26 No. 12 December 2008, pp. 3205 -3209 doi:10.1634/stemcells.2008-0103; www.StemCells.com TISSUE-SPECIFIC STEM CELLS Evidence That an Early Pregnancy Causes a Persistent Decrease in the Number of Functional Mammary Epithelial Stem Cells—Implications for Pregnancy-Induced Protection Against Breast Cancer [Stefan K. Siwkoa, Jie Donga, Michael T. Lewisa, Hao Liub, Susan G. Hilsenbecka, Yi Lia,c] aThe Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, bDivision of Biostatistics, Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, and cDepartment of Molecular and Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA Key Words. Epithelial cells • Mammary glands • Pregnancy • Stem cells • Stem cell transplantation Correspondence: Correspondence: Yi Li, Ph.D., One Baylor Plaza BCM 600, Houston, Texas 77030, USA. Telephone: 713-798-3963; Fax: 713-798-1659; e-mail: [email protected] Received on February 4, 2008; accepted for publication on September 3, 2008. First published online in STEM CELLS EXPRESS  September 11, 2008. A completed pregnancy at a young age reduces a woman's lifetime risk of breast cancer by up to 50%. A similar protective effect of an early pregnancy has been observed in rodent models using chemical carcinogens. However, the mechanisms responsible for this protective effect remain unclear. Stem cells have been proposed to be the cells of origin for breast cancer. We hypothesized that an early pregnancy reduces adult levels of either mammary stem cells or mammary multipotent progenitor cells. Unsorted mammary cells from adult mice that had undergone an early parity had the same mammosphere formation efficiency as cells from age-matched virgin mice. However, when we transplanted adult mammary cells in limiting dilutions into cleared fat pads of syngeneic mice, we...

Ethical Stem Cell Progress 2002-2008: Have You Heard?

President's Council on Bioethics New Advances in Non-Embryonic Stem Cell Research Since 2005 (2007) http://www.bioethics.gov/stemcells/new_advances.html   Embryonic-LIKE Stem Cells from Umbilical Cord Blood and Potential for Neural Modeling (10-page, Acta Neurobiol Exp 2006, 66:321-329) http://www.nencki.gov.pl/pdf/an/vol66/mcguckin.pdf       http://www.stemcelltherapies.org   Conditions Treatable by Stem Cell Transplantation http://www.stemcelltherapies.org/treatable_conditions.htm       Umbilical Cord Immature Stem Cells and Parkinson's Disease   Ende N and Chen R. Parkinson's Disease Mice and Human Umbilical Cord Blood. Journal of Medicine 2002; 33(1-4): 173-180.   Immature stem cells in human cord blood may be able to ameliorate the effects of Parkinson's Disease. Symptoms and death in mice models of Parkinson's Disease were postponed the most in those animals given mononuclear cells from human umbilical cord blood mononuclear cells. [http://www.stemcelltherapies.org/umresearch/parkinsons-research.html]        Umbilical Cord Stem Cells and Medical Disorders   Kortyczko E, Dyduch A. Umbilical cord blood-invaluable source of stem cells. Wiad Lek 2003; 56(7-8): 359-61.   The authors suggest that umbilical cord blood is an underestimated source of stem cells that that the use of stem cells will be a breakthrough in the history of medicine, having the ability to improve symptoms in hematopoietic system disorders, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson's Disease and congenital immunodeficiency syndromes. [http://www.stemcelltherapies.org/umresearch/parkinsons-research.html]    Stem Cells, growth factors and Parkinson's Disease   Tai Y-T, Svendsen CN. Stem cells as a potential treatment of neurological disorders. Current Opinion in Pharmacology 2004; 4: 98-104.   Parkinson's Disease is characterized by the progressive degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra that project to the striatum. Neural stem cells genetically modified to produce glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) are able to increase the survival...

Adult Stem Cell Research Helps Heart Disease, Amyloidosis Patients (Circ/BMT 6/07)

The first study, conducted by scientists at the Minneapolis Heart Institute and reported in the journal Circulation, finds the research helping patients with angina, or pain due to artery blockage. The results found enhancement of blood flow to the heart and an overall improvement in the quality of life after an injection of purified stem cells.  Nearly nine million Americans suffer from angina and another 400,000 new cases are reported annually. The study was a way to look at patients who had exhausted normal medical treatments.  Douglas W. Losordo, M.D., Director of the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute and Timothy D. Henry, M.D., professor in the Division of Cardiology at the Minneapolis Heart Institute headed the study. They found the insertion of the adult stem cells helped most of the 24 patients who received them.   Meanwhile, researchers at Boston University Medical Center found that blood stem cell transplantation can help treat patients with immunoglobulin-light chain (AL) Amyloidosis who did not respond to initial treatment. These findings were published on-line in the June 25th issue of Bone Marrow Transplantation.   AL amyloidosis occurs when clonal plasma cells in bone marrow produce proteins that misfold and deposit in tissues, leading to organ failure and death. Between 1,200 and 3,200 new cases are reported each year in the United States, although researchers believe the disease is highly underdiagnosed.   The researchers enrolled 62 patients on this trial, of whom 17 patients received a second course of high-dose chemotherapy and blood stem cell transplantation who had not received a complete remission from their initial treatment.   Of the 17, five (31 percent) were...

Diabetes & Umbilical Cord Stem Cells: 3 Studies (2007)

Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Successful in Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes Umbilical Cord Blood Alters Course of Type 1 Diabetes in Newly Diagnosed Mothers Keep On Giving…Stem Cells, That Is…      Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Successful in Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes A new US study offers insights into the way stem cells from umbilical cord blood can be used to successfully treat diabetes. Researchers at the University of Florida College of Medicine studied twenty children aged between two and seven with type 1 diabetes, seven of whom were injected with cord blood cells. The researchers concluded that the study suggests that the cells “jump-start” and correct the patient’s own immune system.   "This is the first attempt at using cord blood as a potential therapy for type 1 diabetes. We hope these cells can either lessen the immune system's attack on the pancreas or possibly introduce stem cells that can differentiate into insulin-producing cells," said the lead researcher, Dr. Michael Haller.   Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system starts destroying insulin-producing cells in the pancreas needed to control blood sugar. It can result in heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and death.   The children treated with umbilical cord cells needed an average of 35 per cent less insulin over the following six months, compared with those not given stem cell infusions.   The study was presented yesterday at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association in Chicago, where researchers cautioned against an overreaction. They said the treatment was not a cure and that the cause of the immune process in diabetes was still unknown,...

Healing Not Hype: Cord Blood Stem Cell Technology

by Peter Hollands In 1983, apart from a few highly specialized experts in bone marrow transplantation, there was little interest in stem cell biology. In this wide-open field, I was lucky enough to work at Cambridge University with Professor Bob Edwards and lay the groundwork for much of the current excitement in stem cell biology. My early work with Bob Edwards on the mouse embryo showed that there are stem cells in these early embryos that are capable of repairing and restoring defective bone marrow. Later I became an academic in Cambridge and worked on many types of adult stem cells including those from the liver, bone marrow and skin. During that time I also worked on cord blood stem cells (as the chief scientific officer of UK Cord Blood Bank, the European branch of the Boston-based New England Cord Blood Bank), which have become my career in my current role as senior scientist at NovaThera in Cambridge, England. Cord blood stem cells are found in the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta after a baby is born. These stem cells can be collected easily with a simple blood collection bag and can be frozen and stored in liquid nitrogen until needed for transplant. Parents can choose either to collect and store the cord blood stem cells for their own family use (and pay a fee for this service) or donate their cord blood to one of the many public cord blood banks worldwide for use by anyone in need. If not collected, the cord blood is thrown out as “biological waste.”   There are no...

Study Shows Adult Stem Cell Research Helps Type 1 Diabetics (4/07)

Adult stem cells were able to spur prolonged insulin independence in patients. Researchers from Brazil found success with transplanting adult stem cells into patients with newly diagnosed type 1, or insulin-dependent, diabetes. Dr. Julio C. Voltarelli, from the Regional Blood Center, said the results were "very encouraging"; it was the first time a treatment had been used in human type 1 diabetes [Reuters]. The study involved 15 diabetic patients and who had been diagnosed in the previous six weeks and required insulin. The doctors harvested the patients' own stem cells and injected them intravenously. In the follow-up, 14 of the patients became insulin free — 1 for 35 months, 4 for at least 12 months, and 7 patients for at least 6 months. Two patients responded later to the treatments and were insulin free for one and fifteen months respectively. The authors wrote a report on their study in the Journal of the American Medical Association's April 11 [2007] edition. “Very encouraging results were obtained in a small number of patients with early-onset disease,” the authors wrote. "Ninety-three per cent of patients achieved different periods of insulin independence and treatment-related toxicity was low, with no mortality.” Richard Burt, a co-author of the study from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago: “As a research scientist I am always hesitant to speak of a cure, but the initial results have been good and show the importance of conducting more trials” [London Guardian]. More testing is needed, but he's hopeful the adult stem cell studies will yield more widespread treatments. “It will probably be five to eight years before we...

The Promise of Cord Blood

National Marrow Donor Program Facts and Figures http://www.marrow.org/MEDIA/Facts_and_Figures/facts_figures.pdf   Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases such as leukemia, lymphoma and genetic and immune system disorders. For many patients, the best treatment is a transplant of healthy blood-forming cells from an adult donor or a cord blood unit. Why Cord Blood Banking Is Important Physicians can select from three hematopoietic cell sources for their transplant patients — marrow, peripheral blood cells (PBSC) and umbilical cord blood. Although comparable outcomes have been achieved with all three sources, selection of the hematopoietic cells is based on several patient factors. Studies show that cord blood transplant is used for children and adult patients when: *More tolerant matching is required because the patient has an uncommon HLA tissue type *Disease stage or other factors pose an immediate need to proceed to transplant *Blood-forming cell quantity required may be smaller due to patient's size These characteristics are unique to cord blood: More Tolerant Matching Marrow and cord blood transplants require human leukocyte antigen (HLA) matching certain tissue traits of the donor and patient. A close match between the patient and the donor or cord blood unit can improve a patient's outcome. Umbilical cord blood holds special promise for patients who lack a suitably matching adult donor. While a closely matched cord blood unit is preferred, clinical studies suggest the match may not have to be as close as is needed for marrow or peripheral blood transplants. This is especially promising for minority patients, whose diverse tissue types are often difficult to match. Expanding the inventory of cord blood, particularly with units...

Umbilical Cord Stem Cells – Recent Research (Stem Cell Reviews)

"Stem Cells in the Umbilical Cord", by M. Weiss and E. Troyer, Stem Cell Reviews, Humana Press, vol.2, 2006 Abstract. "Stem cells are the next frontier in medicine. Stem cells are thought to have great therapeutic and biotechnological potential…Stem cells recovered postnatally from the umbilical cord, including the umbilical cord blood cells, amnion/placenta, umbilical cord vein, or umbilical cord matrix cells, are a readily available and inexpensive source of cells that are capable of forming many different cell types (i.e. they are 'multipotent')." Introduction. Stem Cells Defined. Stem cells are defined simply as cells meeting 3 basic criteria: First, stem cells renew themselves throughout life, i.e., the cells divide to produce identical daughter cells and thereby maintain the stem cell population. Second, stem cells have the capacity to undergo differentiation to become specialized progeny cells. When stem cells differentiate, they may divide asymmetrically to yield an identical cell and a daughter cell that acquires properties of a particular cell type, for example, specific morphology, phenotype, and physiological properties that categorize it as a cell belonging to a particular tissue. Stem cells that may differentiate into tissues derived from all 3 germ layers (the ectoderm outer layer, the mesoderm middle layer, the endoderm inner layer) are called "pluripotent". The [most popularized] example of pluripotent stem cells are the embryonic stem cells (ESCs) derived from the inner cell mass of early human embryos. In contrast with ESCs, most [non-embryonic] stem cells that have been well characterized are multipotent, i.e., they may differentiate into derivatives of 2 of the 3 germ layers. The third property of stem cells is that they may renew the...

Parkinson's Treatments: Adult Stem Cells vs. Embryonic Stem Cells (2006)

PARKINSON’S TREATMENTS ADULT STEM CELLS VS. EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS Adult Stem Cells Treat Parkinson’s in Humans and Animals: 2006 Scientists used adult stem cells from the solid umbilical cord to treat rats with Parkinson’s, and found significant recovery in motion and behavior. Weiss ML, et al., Human umbilical cord matrix stem cells: preliminary characterization and effect of transplantation in a rodent model of parkinson’s disease, Stem Cells 24, 781-792, March 2006. 2005 British researchers performed the first ever pathology follow-up (see original study below) of one patient treated for Parkinson’s disease. The study showed that the protein stimulated sprouting of new neurons in the brain. Love S. et al., “Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor induces neuronal sprouting in human brain.” Nature Medicine 11, 703-704, July 2005. 2005 Scientists at the University of Kentucky treated ten Parkinson’s patients with a protein to stimulate the patients’ own brain stem cells and showed significant improvement in symptoms. Slevin JT, et al., Improvement of bilateral motor functions in patients with Parkinson disease through the unilateral intraputaminal infusion of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, Journal of Neurosurgery 102, 216-222, February 2005. 2004 A Japanese research team from Kyoto University reported success in treating mice with Parkinson's disease by transplanting nerve cells developed from their own bone marrow stromal cells. Mari Dezawa et al. “Specific induction of neuronal cells from bone marrow stromal cells and application for autologous transplantation” Journal of Clinical Investigation 113:1701-1710, 2004. 2003 British researchers injected a natural protein into the brains of 5 Parkinson’s patients and found that it stimulated the patients’ own adult neural stem cells. This treatment provided an...

Canadian Researchers Treat MS with Adult Stem Cells (4/02)

Canadian doctors have used adult stem cells taken from multiple sclerosis patients to attempt to cure them of their disabling condition. CTV News reports that researchers at the Ottawa Hospital have successfully treated four patients with stem cells obtained from their own bone marrow. The doctors destroyed the immune systems of the patients with chemo-therapy and then inject the stem cells to regenerate systems without the disease. Six months after the first patient was treated, she was found to have no evidence of the disease on MRI scans. Researchers are very hopeful but remain cautious. "In four cases, we've had four successful grafts with no evidence of any active disease," says Ottawa Hospital's Dr. Mark Freedman. "The cure in this case would be a listing remission, not requiring any intercession with any more aggressive drugs," explains Freedman. While similar research on advanced MS patients has been shown to arrest the disease in the brain but not the body, the Canadian research is being undertaken with younger and healthier MS patients. [OTTAWA, April 15, 2002...

66+ Human Diseases Treated Successfully With Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells (2007)

[update: see below a list of diseases presently treated successfully]  ADULT STEM CELLS, according to Phil Coelho [CEO, Chairman, Board of Thermogenesis Corp] which provides cord blood stem cell processing and cryopreservation systems used by major cord blood stem cell banks, says that adult stem cells have "been used clinically about 30,000 times."  Scientists and observers of the stem cell research debate point out that adult stem cells have proven more useful and effective than their embryonic counterparts. Cord blood cells "have some dramatic advantages," Coelho says. "[T]hey can become several—and perhaps all—the different tissue types; they involve no donor risks; they have the capacity for many cell divisions; and they cause less graft versus host disease," he explained. According to Coelho, the first patient to be treated with adult stem cells, in 1988, shows no evidence of the Fanconi Anemia that he suffered from as a child. So far, more than 6,000 patients and 66 diseases have been successfully treated with stem cells from umbilical cord blood. Coelho says the results from the adult stem cells from cord blood have been tremendous. "A recent study found a survival rate of around 70 percent among high-risk adults treated with cord blood," he said. "Results are even more promising with children, with clinical trials showing an 80 percent survival rate for children with immunodeficiency diseases." Florida Congressman Dave Weldon, an OBGYN, agrees. "Adult stem cells and, in particular, cord blood stem cells are going to be the sources for the regenerative, miraculous medicine in the future," he said. "Embryonic stem cell research is just not getting good research results." Embryonic stem...

Placenta Cells Share Characteristics of Embryo Cells Without Tumor Formation (8/05)

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have revealed findings that some placental cells have many of the same characteristics of embryonic stem cells.   Like umbilical cords, the placenta is routinely discarded after a baby is born, and is a rich source of these cells. The cells are readily available and have been shown not to produce the tumors that are a major medical barrier to using embryo cells in direct treatments.   "We think it would be easier to get these to the clinic than [embryonic stem] cells," said Stephen Strom, an associate professor of pathology at the Pitt medical school.   "If we could develop efficient methods that would allow amnion-derived cells to differentiate into specific cell types, then placentas would no longer be relegated to the trashcan. Instead, we'd have a useful source of cells for transplantation and regenerative medicine," said Dr. Strom.   The cells, called amniotic epithelial cells, are not stem cells but have many of the same characteristics. They were found to differentiate into several different tissue types, including liver cells, neurons, heart cells, pancreatic cells with the potential to produce insulin, and glial cells which form part of the nervous system. Moreover, they do not share the same dangerous capacity for unlimited replication as do embryonic stem cells which may be related to the fact that they were found not to produce tumors in mice.   The news about placental cells is not entirely new. In 2001, A three-year old boy, Tom Stretch, suffering from a disease of the white blood cells known as chronic granulomatous disease was successfully treated with stem...

Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells Saving Hurler's Syndrome Children (5/04)

Taken from unrelated donors, doctors are saving the lives of children with Hurler's syndrome — a rare congenital illness that typically kills victims before they reach the age of five.   While experts have been treating Hurler's syndrome with stem cells taken from bone marrow for years, the use of cells derived from cord blood improves treatment while helping children avoid painful and debilitating radiation therapy, researchers say.   "It's ameliorating all the symptoms," said study co-author Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg [dir, Pediatric Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation program, Duke University's Comprehensive Cancer Center]. Her team's findings appear in the May 6 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Experts estimate that between 40 and 100 American children are born annually with the metabolic disease mucopolysaccharidosis type 1 (MPS-1), commonly called Hurler's syndrome. The syndrome leaves children unable to produce an important enzyme known as alpha-L-iduronidase, crucial to the breakdown and recycling of cells that have outlived their usefulness.   As a result, unrecycled cells gather in various body sites, resulting in damage to bones, liver, spleen, corneas, cartilage and even the brain. Children affected by Hurlers typically suffer from slowed growth and mental retardation. Left untreated, the illness is usually fatal by age five.   However, in the early 1980s doctors began making real headway against Hurler's. They discovered that transplanted stem cells derived from human bone marrow allowed affected children to begin to produce small quantities of the much-needed enzyme. Still, treatment hurdles remained.   As with all transplants, "some patients who need a donor can't find a close enough match," Kurtzberg said, so about 50 percent...

Discovery of Adult Stem Cells in Pancreas Could Help Diabetes Patients (8/04)

The possible discovery of adult stem cells in the pancreas could offer hope for diabetics who take insulin shots to make up for defective cells.   Scientists from the University of Toronto believe they have found adult stem cells in the pancreas of mice that are capable of creating insulin-producing beta cells. Those cells can compensate for defective pancreatic islets, which are comprised mostly of beta cells.   The islets produce insulin that regulates a person's blood sugar level.   "People have been intensely searching for pancreatic stem cells for a while now, and so our discovery of precursor cells within the adult pancreas that are capable of making new pancreatic cells is very exciting," UT researcher Simon Smukler said.   According to the study, published in the August 22 edition of the medical journal Nature Biotechnology, the researchers are now conducting further reviews to ensure that the cells they found are adult stem cells and not just precursor cells that simply give rise to the development of the pancreas.   Stem cells can renew themselves over the entire life of the person or animal and can produce varied cell types, such as the islet cells diabetes patients need.   "Pancreatic stem cells could provide a plentiful supply of beta cells for transplant treatments," the researchers said in a statement.   Researchers at the University of Alberta have been transplanting the insulin-making islet cells into patients and helping them shed their dependence on the insulin shots. However, the research relies on harvesting the islet cells from human cadavers and the supply of the cells fluctuates significantly.   The discovery...