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President's Council on Bioethics
New Advances in Non-Embryonic Stem Cell Research Since 2005 (2007)

Embryonic-LIKE Stem Cells from Umbilical Cord Blood and Potential for Neural Modeling (10-page, Acta Neurobiol Exp 2006, 66:321-329)
Conditions Treatable by Stem Cell Transplantation
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.
 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. []

 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 of transplanted dopamine neurons in rat models of Parkinson's Disease. GDNF directly infused into the putamen has shown significant clinical improvements with minimal side effects in a small group of Parkinson's patients that received growth factor treatments for a year. The authors suggest that the use of stem cells in conjunction with growth factor treatments shows great promise for Parkinson's Disease. []
Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Parkinson's Disease
Fu YS, Cheng YC, Lin MY, Cheng H, Chu PM, Chou SC, Shih YH, Ko MH, Sung MS. Conversion of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells in Wharton's Jelly to dopaminergic neurons in vitro – Potential therapeutic application for Parkinsonism. Stem Cells 2005; Aug 11; [Epub ahead of print]
Wharton's jelly from umbilical cord contains mesenchymal stem cells are capable of being differentiated into dopaminergic neurons in culture. The transplantation of these cells into rat models for Parkinson's Disease partially corrected symptoms. A significant percentage of these mesenchymal stem cells were still alive and migrating in the brain four months after transplantation. The authors suggest that human umbilical mesenchymal stem cells show promise in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. []
Umbilical Cord Matrix Stem Cells and Parkinson's Symptoms
Weiss ML, Medicetty S, Bledsoe AR, Rachakatla RS, Choi M, Merchav S, Luo Y, Rao MS, Velagaleti G, Troyer D. Human Umbilical Cord Matrix Stem Cells: Preliminary Characterization and Effect of Transplantation in a Rodent Model of Parkinson's Disease. Stem Cells 2005, Oct 13 [Epub ahead of print].
Mesenchymal-like matrix stem cells from umbilical cord were transplanted into the brains of rat models for Parkinson's Disease. The cells ameliorated symptoms induced by apomorphine. They did not promote host immune rejection or brain tumors and appear to be a rich, non-controversial source of stem cells for Parkinson's Disease. []
Brain imaging scans of cerebral palsy children show hypoperfusion, (a lack of blood flow) in various regions of the brain, including the thalamus, cerebellum and/or basal ganglia. Umbilical cord derived stem cells have the ability to help repair the entire system by
   1. stimulating angiogenesis, the development of new blood vessels to the damaged areas,
   2. repairing the white matter through the production of glial cells
   3. repairing the grey matter through the stimulation of growth factors and direct or indirect stimulation of neurogenesis,
   4. dividing into new neurons once the oxygen and nutrient supply can support them,
   5. strengthening of muscle tissue and
   6. improving immune function.
Cerebral palsy is the best responder to umbilical cord stem cells. In twenty children who we have follow up information on, about 85% had mild to significant improvement within a five month follow-up period. One of the first signs of improvement is muscle tone, often followed by an increased vocabulary, socialization and improved comprehension. Cerebral palsy may respond well to cord stem cells because the cells differentiate predominantly into glial progenitors that promote white matter repair. Most of those children who have made some progress after stem cell therapy are continuing with several treatments a year. They also continue with physical, occupational and/or speech therapy.
Dr. Steenblock recommends that before children are treated with cord stem cells (or other therapies), that they be checked for heavy metal toxicity through a DMSA challenge and checked for infections and any anerobic overgrowth in the GI tract. []

Type 1 diabetes can be caused by autoimmune destruction leading to a lack of insulin

Roche E, Enseat-Wase R, Reig JA, Jones J, Leon-Quinto T, Soria B. Therapeutic potential of stem cells in diabetes. Handb Exp Pharmacol 2006; 174: 147-67.
Stem cells can represent a potential source of tissues for cell therapy protocols for diabetes. The pathology of type 1 diabetes is caused by the autoimmune destruction or malfunction of pancreatic beta cells, and consequently, a lack of insulin. The absence of insulin is life-threatening, thus requiring diabetic patients to take daily hormone injections from exogenous sources; however, insulin injections do not adequately mimic beta cell function. This results in the development of diabetic complications such as neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy and diverse cardiovascular disorders. The authors review the possibilities of stem cell therapies for the treatment of diabetes.  []

Adult Stem Cell Trial The First of Its Kind.
A clinical trial using adult stem cells that's the first of its kind has begun

at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. The goal is to prevent or repair kidney damage that can occur after open-heart surgery by taking bone marrow stem cells and injecting them into the bloodstream, where they are carried to a patient's kidney. Salt Lake City-based biotech company AlloCure is partnering with Intermountain Medical Center to conduct the study. Christof Westenfelder, chief medical officer for AlloCure, says it's the best treatment to help kidney failure and disease.
"This cell based therapy is superior to all the other therapies because the cells interpret correctly what is going on and fix it, and after they have fixed it they say okay we are done, leaving, we can now destroy ourselves. When you give a drug that is very different. When you give a drug, you know the drug has effects all over the place. These cells only go to sites where you have a problem," Westenfelder said.
Westenfelder notes the kidney often suffers damage after open-heart surgery, and says this new procedure could help prevent kidney injury.
Cardiovascular surgeon John Doty will be conducting the trial and says this technique could be used in many different ways.
"If this works, and we think it will, this is something that can address all kinds of acute injury in any organ, so it's limitless I would say," Doty said.
The trial is in its first phase, which uses 15 healthy patients. In the second phase, which they hope to start in the spring, they'll use patients who are at high risk for kidney problems. [Sep 30, 2008,  Faroe Robinson, KCPW News,]
A Breakthrough, then a Surge, in Stem Cell Research. Less than a year after a Wisconsin team helped discover a major alternative to human embryonic stem cells, the Madison scientists say more than 800 labs have begun using the approach, suggesting that many stem-cell researchers are starting to move beyond controversial embryonic sources for their work.
[October 13th, 2008, Jeremy Manier in Medicine & Health / Research;]
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…
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…
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 human 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. [ScienceDaily, Oct. 18, 2008,; adapted from materials provided by Salk Institute]