Stem Cell - Archive

December & November 2008: Ethical Stem Cell Research & Selling Eggs for Cloning

NEW! In Dangerous Trend, More Women Sell Their Eggs

Doctors Say Marrow Transplant (Adult Stem Cells) May Have Cured AIDS

Adult Stem Cell Research Helps 8-Year-Old Missouri Girl With Eye Condition

Adult Stem Cell Research Helps Cerebral Palsy Child

New Method For Creating Inducible Stem Cells Is Remarkably Efficient

Adult Stem Cell Breakthrough: Mass-Production Of 'Embryonic' Stem Cells From A Human Hair

Adult Stem Cell Research & Therapy is Bringing Human Healing NOW

Researchers Make Breakthrough Discovery About Adult Stem Cell Behavior

NEW! Researchers See Adult Stem Cell Progress: They Self-Renew, Repair Tissue Such as Esophagus Reflux Damage

In Dangerous Trend, More Women Sell Their Eggs


Some fertility clinics are reporting a surge in the number of women applying to donate eggs or serve as surrogates, The Wall Street Journal reported. The rate for a surrogate is about $25,000. Egg donors receive $3,000 to $8,000.  "Whenever the employment rate is down, we get more calls," Robin von Halle, president of Alternative Reproductive Resources in Chicago, told the newspaper. "We're even getting men offering up their wives. It's pretty scary." Carrie Gordon Earll, senior bioethics analyst at Focus on the Family Action, said women should not be enticed to put their health and their lives at risk for financial benefit.  "That goes against every tenet of medical ethics," she said. "Serious complications can come into play, including blood clots, liver and kidney damage, future infertility and even death. "And even if the risks are minimal, this type of idea enters into creating life outside of the marital union, and that’s something Focus on the Family does not support.”  [
http://www.citizenlink.org/content/A000008844.cfm, Citizen Link; 10 Dec08, ALL Pro-life Today]

 

 

 

 

 

Doctors Say Marrow Transplant (Adult Stem Cells) May Have Cured AIDS
An American man who suffered from AIDS appears to have been cured of the disease 20 months after receiving a targeted bone marrow transplant normally used to fight leukemia, his doctors said.  While researchers – and the doctors themselves – caution that the case might be no more than a fluke, others say it may inspire a greater interest in gene therapy to fight the disease that claims two million lives each year. The virus has infected 33 million people worldwide.
[http://apnews.myway.com/article/20081113/D94E24O80.html
Associated Press]

 

 

Adult Stem Cell Research Helps 8-Year-Old Missouri Girl With Eye Condition

Adult Stem Cell Research Helps 8-Year-Old Missouri Girl With Eye Condition
Savannah Watring, an 8-year-old girl from Syracuse, Missouri was told she would never see more than the difference between light and dark, due to a condition called optic nerve hypoplasia.

But when her family took her to China for an experimental adult stem cell treatment, she began to recover her sight after receiving four of the seven prescribed treatments.

Doctors had expected her recovery to begin three to six months after the treatment. "It was like, one day she was not seeing anything, and the next day she was seeing the letter E and which way the legs went," said Savannah's aunt, Shonna Millsap.

The trip and medical bills were covered by over $50,000 in donations the family received when insurance companies refused to cover the treatment. [6 Oct 08, Syracuse, MO LifeNews.com]


Adult stem-cell research helps cerebral palsy child

Adult stem-cell research has paid off for a Denver-area family.

Chloe Levigne is two years old now — happy, walking, playing, and doing the things a child typically does, but it has not always been that way.

Early in Chloe's life, her parents Jenny and Ryan Levigne noticed her right hand always clenched in a fist and that she tended to drag herself across the floor rather than crawl. Denver television station KCNC talked with the parents, and Jenny Levigne said doctors performed tests to figure out the problem. 

"And we discovered she had a stroke in utero, which caused brain tissue to stop developing," Jenny explains.
 
Chloe's parents were devastated to discover their daughter had cerebral palsy. "Being a mom, I couldn't kiss it and make it better," Jenny adds.
 
At birth though, the Levignes paid for storage of umbilical blood stem cells.

The cells were transported to Duke University where an experimental procedure was done using those cells — and results were evident only two days later. "She began saying words that we had worked weeks and weeks to try to get her to say, one being her nickname 'Coco,'" Jenny says. "That was just music to our ears."
 
Chloe is about as close to normal as pos

sible for a child her age, according to Jenny. Duke University has done only 40 of the procedures with adult stem cells, and most patients have seen positive results.
[Charlie Butts – OneNewsNow – 10/9/2008]

***

New Method For Creating Inducible Stem Cells Is Remarkably Efficient
ScienceDaily (Sep. 10, 2008) — Some of the most challenging obstacles limiting the reprogramming of mature human cells into stem cells may not seem quite as daunting in the near future.

Two independent research papers, published by Cell Press in the September 11th issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell, describe new tools that provide invaluable platforms for elucidating the molecular, genetic, and biochemical mechanisms associated with reprogramming. The new findings also offer considerable hope toward making the reprogramming process more therapeutically relevant.

Although scientists have successfully reprogrammed mature human skin cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells by expressing a few key transcription factors, the conversion has been extremely inefficient.

"Little is known about the mechanisms by which reprogramming occurs, in part because of the low efficiency," says senior study author Dr. Konrad Hochedlinger from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. In addition, the iPS cells created thus far have been generated with retroviruses and noninducible lentiviruses, both of which have major limitations that are not compatible with clinical applications.

The Hochedlinger group created a drug-inducible viral system to generate human iPS cells that were molecularly and functionally similar to human embryonic stem cells. This method was unique in that it allowed the researchers to create iPS cells by using the drug doxycycline to control expression of the necessary factors that had been delivered to the cells with viruses.

The researchers then found that when doxycycline was removed and these "primary" iPS cells differentiated to mature cells, another exposure to the drug reactivated the genes required for reprogramming and induced generation of "secondary" iPS cells at a frequency that was far greater that the initial "primary" conversion. The idea of generating these secondary cells was conceived in previous experiments with mice performed in the lab of Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"The secondary system will enable chemical and genetic screening efforts to identify key molecular constituents of reprogramming, as well as important obstacles in this process, and will ultimately lend itself as a powerful tool in the development and optimization methods to produce human iPS cells," explains Dr. Hochedlinger.

In a separate paper, Dr. Jaenisch's group reports on their success in deriving human secondary iPS cells using doxycycline-inducible transgenes. "The drug-inducible system we describe represents a novel, predictable, and highly reproducible platform to study the kinetics of iPS cell generation," says Dr. Jaenisch. "Further, the genetic homogeneity of secondary cells makes chemical and genetic screening approaches to enhance reprogramming efficiency or to replace any of the original reprogramming factors feasible."

Both research teams found that generation of secondary human iPS cells required less time than the initial reprogramming. Interestingly, the time required to generate iPS cells varied among the types of skin cells that were used. For instance, human fibroblasts required several weeks, while keratinocytes required only about 10 days. "The fast kinetics of reprogramming observed for keratinocytes suggests that these cells would be useful for development and optimization of methods to reprogram cells by transient delivery of factors," suggests Dr. Hochedlinger.

The combined results from both research groups represent a major advance toward more efficient strategies for reprogramming differentiated human cells into iPS cells. The methods described here will not only provide critical insight into the reprogramming process, but also, because of the abbreviated time frame, may lead to the generation of cells that will be amenable for therapies, as reprogramming might be achievable without the prohibitive viruses or genetic modifications.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080910133642.htm
pro-life daily news, 10Sept08]

Stem Cell Breakthrough: Mass-Production Of 'Embryonic' Stem Cells From A Human Hair
The first reports of the successful reprogramming of adult human cells back into so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, which by all appearances looked and acted like embryonic stem cells, created a media stir. But the process was woefully inefficient: Only one out of 10,000 cells could be persuaded to turn back the clock.

Now, a team of researchers led by Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, succeeded in boosting the reprogramming efficiency more than 100-fold, while cutting the time it takes in half. In fact, they repeatedly generated iPS cells from the tiny number of keratinocytes attached to a single hair plucked from a human scalp.

Their method, published ahead of print in the Oct. 17, 2008 online edition of Nature Biotechnology, not only provides a practical and simple alternative for the generation of patient- and disease-specific stem cells, which had been hampered by the low efficiency of the reprogramming process, but also spares patients invasive procedures to collect suitable starting material, since the process only requires a single human hair.

"Having a very efficient and practical way of generating patient-specific stem cells, which unlike human embryonic stem cells, wouldn't be rejected by the patient's immune system after transplantation brings us a step closer to the clinical application of stem cell therapy," says Belmonte, PhD., a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory and director of the Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, Spain.

Keratinocytes form the uppermost layer of skin and produce keratin, a tough protein that is the primary constituent of hair, nails and skin. They originate in the basal layer of the epidermis, from where they move up through the different layers of the epidermis and are eventually shed.

While scientists have successfully reprogrammed different types of mouse cells (fibroblasts, liver and intestinal cells), skin fibroblasts were the only human cell type they had ever tried their hands on. Fibroblasts help make the connective tissue in the body and are the primary cell type in the deeper layers of the skin, where they are responsible for wound healing and the secretion of proteins that form collagen.

For the first set of experiments, first author Trond Aasen, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher at the Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, used viral vectors to slip the genes for the master regulators Oct4, Sox2, as well as Klf4 and c-Myc into keratinocytes cultured from human skin explants. After only 10 days — instead of the more typical three to four weeks — one out of 100 hundred cells grew into a tiny colony with all the markings of a typical human embryonic stem cell colony.

The researchers then successfully prodded what they call keratinocyte-derived iPS cells or KiPS cells to distinguish them from fibroblast-derived iPS cells into becoming all the cell types in the h

uman body, including heart muscle cells and dopamine-producing neurons, which are affected by Parkinson's disease.

Taking advantage of the high efficiency of the keratinocyte reprogramming process, Aasen decided to test whether he could establish KiPS cells from minute amounts of biological samples. "We plucked a single hair from a co-worker's scalp and cultured the keratinocytes, which are found in the outer root sheet area," recalls Aasen. He then successfully reprogrammed these cells into bona fide KiPS cells.

Just why keratinocytes appear to be much more malleable than other cell types is still an open question. "We checked a whole rainbow of cells and found keratinocytes to be the easiest to be reprogrammed," says Belmonte. "It is still not clear exactly why that is and knowing it will be very important for the technology to develop fully," he speculates.

They researchers did find one hint, though. When they compared the expression profiles of genes related to stem cell identity, growth or differentiation between keratinocytes, fibroblasts, human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and KiPS cells, keratinocytes had more in common with hESCs and KiPS cells than with fibroblasts.

Researchers who also contributed to the study include Angel Raya, Ph.D., Maria J. Barrero, Ph.D., Elena Garreta, Ph.D., Antonella Consiglio, Ph.D., Federico Gonzales, Ph.D., Rita Vassena, Ph.D., Josipa Bilic, Ph.D., Vladimir Pekarik, Ph.D., Gustavo Tiscornia, Ph.D., Michael Edel, Ph.D., and Stéphanie Boué, Ph.D., at the Center of Regenerative Medicine in Barcelona, Spain.
Adapted from materials provided by Salk Institute, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081017164917.htm
ScienceDaily (Oct. 18, 2008)

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Stem Cell Research & Therapy is Bringing Human Healing NOW: Adult stem cell research and therapy is accomplishing so much for human healing:
 
Liver Repair. Doctors at Imperial College, London, have shown treatment benefits from using adult stem cells collected from the patients' own blood to treat cirrhosis of the liver. Three of the nine patients treated showed almost complete repair after 12 weeks.
 
Cerebral Palsy. Duke University scientists have treated a young girl for cerebral palsy using her umbilical cord blood, which the parents had saved. Two months after receiving her own stem cells, the girl is reported to have made a 50 percent recovery.
 
Windpipe Reconstruction. A Colombian woman whose windpipe was destroyed by tuberculosis received a transplant using donated tissue and her own adult stem cells to form the replacement organ. The international team that conducted the work included scientists in Italy and the United Kingdom and surgeons in Spain. The surgery occurred in June, there is still no rejection of the new tissue, and she can now walk flights of stairs and go dancing.
 
Clinical Trial to Treat Heart Failure. The University of Utah is enrolling patients in a new clinical trial that uses their own bone marrow adult stem cells to treat two types of heart failure. The trial is the first of its kind for a condition, cardiomyopathy, which is not susceptible to other forms of treatment besides a heart transplant.
 
Knee Repairs for Ruggers. British scientists have used adult stem cells to develop the equivalent of a "living bandage" that can be applied to difficult-to-treat knee injuries caused by a torn meniscus. This ligament in the knee often suffers damage from sharp twisting motions such as those incurred in rugby and other sports. The adult stem cells are applied to a spongy collagen material and have proven capable of pulling together torn pieces of meniscal tissue.
 
Heart Valve Construction. German researchers have enjoyed success (not yet used in human trials) in building heart valves using the "scaffolding concept" and adult stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood. The scientist in charge of the research noted that the valves might be used to replace defective ones in children, perhaps even growing along with them and allowing them to avoid the multiple surgeries required by traditional valve replacement.
 
There are over 2,000 FDA-approved clinical trials underway in the U.S. deploying stem cells. All are using adult sources of these tissues.
None involve the killing of embryos.
Additionally, there are no FDA approved trials for stem cells derived from embryos.
[That's correct: NONE of these trials are using embryonic stem cells!
Why? Primarily because they continue to cause tumors and tissue rejection in the patients.]
 
 
Stem Cell Research, Cloning and Human Embryos (free download)
http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=BC04C01&f=WA08K50
 
Adult Stem Cell Treatments- 9 Faces of Success (free download) http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=BC06I01&f=WA08K50
[Family Research Council, 25 November 08]
 

 

 

Researchers Make Breakthrough Discovery About Adult Stem Cell Behavior
A study published by three Tufts scientists last month offers groundbreaking insight into regenerative science, showing that bio-electrical signals play a major role in determining the behavior of adult stem cells. In their paper, titled "Membrane Potential Controls Adipogenic and Osteogenic Differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells," the scientists discuss a new way to control the behavior of adult stem cells using electrical impulses.  In previous studies around the world, stem cell manipulation had been conducted using chemical signals.

[http://www.tuftsdaily.com/news/1.1048934, Tufts Daily;
 ALL Pro-life Today, 5 Dec 08]

 

 

 

Researchers (Stanford & PA) See Adult Stem Cell Progress: They Self-Renew, Repair Tissue Such as Esophagus Reflux Damage. Two groups of researchers have made more progress with the use of adult stem cells — showing they are both more ethical and more effective than their embryonic counterparts. In this latest find, they demonstrated that adult stem cells can self renew and repair tissue damage.

Stanford University scientists issued a report at the 48th annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) on Sunday.

They transplanted the skeletal adult muscle stem cells into special immune-suppressed mice whose muscle satellite cells had been wiped out in a hind limb by irradiation. The stem cells restored lost function to mice with hind limb muscle tissue damage.

The team used luminescent imaging as well as quantitative and kinetic analyses to track each transplanted stem cell as it rapidly proliferated and engrafted its progeny into the irradiated muscle tissue.

The scientists then injured the regenerated tissue, setting off muscle cell growth and repair, and subsequently showed that the muscle stem cells and descendents rescued the second animal’s lost muscle healing function.

After isolating the luciferase-glowing muscle stem cells from the transplanted animal, the scientists cloned the cells in the lab. Like the original muscle cells, the cloned copies were intact and capable of self renewal.

After demonstrating that the transplanted stem cells proliferated and fully restored the animal's lost function, the scientists recovered new stem cells from the transplant with full stem cell potency.

Dr. David Prentice, a former Indiana State University biology professor who is a leading pro-life bioethicist, told LifeNews.com he is excited about the news.

"The work by the Stanford group is exciting, because it shows with very definitive experiments that even a single muscle adult stem cell can grow and repair muscle damage, while still maintaining a pool of muscle stem cells for future repair, or as in these experiments, for transplant," he explained.

"These detailed experiments lay the groundwork for the potential use of muscle adult stem cells to treat various muscle disorders in patients," Prentice added.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered stem cells in the esophagus of mice that were able to grow into tissue-like structures and when placed into immune-deficient mice were able to form parts of an esophagus lining.

They reported their findings online this month in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

"The immediate implication is that we'll have a better understanding of the role of these stem cells in normal biology, as well as in regenerative and cancer biology," senior author Anil K. Rustgi, MD said in a statement.

Dr. Rustgi said the findings could soon lead to treatments for patients using the adult stem cells.

"Down the road, we will develop a panel of markers that will define these stem cells and use them in replacement therapy for diseases like gastroesophogeal reflux disease [GERD] and also to understand Barrett's esophagus, a precursor to esophageal adenocarcinoma and how to reverse that before it becomes cancer," Rustgi explained.

The researchers set out to identify and characterize potential stem cells–those with the ability to self renew–in the esophagus to understand normal biology and how injured cells may one day be repaired.

First, they grew mouse esophageal cells they suspected were adult stem cells. Those cells formed colonies that self renewed.

The investigators then tested their pieces of esophageal lining in whole animals. When the tissue-engineered patches were transplanted under the skin of immunodeficient mice, the cells formed epithelial structures.

Eventually the researchers will develop genetically engineered mouse models to be able to track molecular markers of esophageal stem cells found in a micorarray study. The group has already developed a library of human esophageal cell lines and is looking for human versions of markers already identified in mice.

"The ultimate goal is to identify esophageal stem cells in a patient, grow the patient's own stem cells, and inject them locally to replace diseased tissue with normal lining," says Rustgi.

Dr. Prentice, with the Family Research Council, also commented on the Penn study.

"This report is interesting because they were able to isolate and grow the adult stem cells from mouse esophagus, and also get the cells to help with repair of damaged esophagus tissue in mice," he said. "The results are promising for use of these adult stem cells in repair of various types of esophagus damage, including reflux disease." [15Dec08, http://www.lifenews.com/bio2670.html, Ertelt, www.LifeNews.com, Stanford, CA]