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A New Stem Cell Enters: Induced Conditional Self-Renewing Progenitor Cells (ICSP)

Second Chance at Life for Adult Stem Cell Transplant Patient

Genetic Abnormalities Discovered Associated With The Creation Of 'iPS' Stem Cells / More Genetic Problems with Artificial Stem Cells

Other Stem Cell Research Studies

Incredible ‘Skin Gun’ Heals Severe Burns in Days — National Geographic “Explorer” / Amazing "Skin Gun" Heals Burn Wounds Using Victims' Adult Stem Cells / Building a Beating Heart / Extra Cellular Matrix

How Nasal Stem Cells Might Prevent Childhood Deafness

Babies Can Be Treated With Adult Stem Cells, Even in the Womb — "Now We Can Really Think Big!"

Artificially Produced Stem Cells May ‘Hold On’ to Genetic Past – Problematic

Mitochondrial DNA Integrity Is Essential For Mitochondrial Maturation During Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells

Adult Stem Cells Helping Women With Breast Reconstruction

Obama Admin OKs Another Human Embryonic Stem Cell Trial

Time To End the CA Stem Cell Institute

Adult Fat Cell-Derived Stem Cells Useful in Tissue Reconstruction

Adipose-derived stem cells maintain their "stemness" and could be useful for cell-based therapies.

A team of researchers from several institutions in Italy isolated and characterized adult fat cell-derived stem cells from patients undergoing lipoaspiration (surgical removal of fat deposits) in order to investigate the ability of the fat cells to maintain their stem cell characteristics in in vitro cultures to the point where once transplanted they could aid in tissue regeneration…

A New Stem Cell Enters the Mix: Induced Conditional Self-Renewing Progenitor Cells
In the past few months, a slew of papers have indicated that the therapeutic potential of a promising type of stem cell, called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, might be limited by reprogramming errors and genomic instability. iPS cells are engineered by reprogramming fully differentiated adult cells, often skin cells, back to a primitive, embryonic-like state. Given these problems, a team of researchers at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham), Chung-Ang University in Korea, the University of British Columbia, Harvard Medical School and elsewhere wondered if there might be a better way to regenerate lost tissue to treat conditions like heart disease and stroke. Writing March 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they outline a method to obtain a new kind of stem cell they call "induced conditional self-renewing progenitor (ICSP) cells." With the addition of a single gene, the team instructed neural progenitor cells – a type of brain cell that can generate other types of brain cells – to self-renew in a laboratory dish. Once they had enough, the researchers moved the ICSP cells to a rodent stroke model, where the cells stopped proliferating, started differentiating and improved brain function.

"It's amazingly cool that we can dial adult cells all the way back to embryonic-like stem cells, but there are a lot of issues that still need to be addressed before iPS cells can be used to treat patients," said Evan Y. Snyder, M.D., Ph.D., director of Sanford-Burnham's Stem Cells and Regenerative Biology Program and corresponding author of the study. "So we wondered… if we just want to treat a brain disease, do we really have to start with a skin cell, which has nothing to do with the brain, and push it all the way back to the point that it has potential to become anything? In this study, we developed ICSP cells using a cell from the organ we're already interested in – the nervous system, in this case – and pushed it back just enough so it continued to divide, giving us a quantity that we were able to apply efficiently, safely and effectively to treat stroke injury in a rodent model."

Here's how ICSP cells work. Researchers use a viral vector to introduce a gene called v-Myc into neural progenitor cells. Myc, one of four standard genes already used to generate iPS cells, triggers self-renewal, guiding cells through the replication process. Scientists are sometimes cautious when it comes to adding genes like Myc – if cells keep dividing after transplantation in a patient, cancer could develop – but v-Myc is known to be safer than other flavors of Myc. What's more, the v-Myc used here is conditionally expressed. This means that ICSP cells can only produce v-Myc when the researchers add a compound called tetracycline to laboratory cultures. When tetracycline is removed, the cells cease dividing and start differentiating. Then, once transplanted into to an animal model, ICSP cells are no longer exposed to tetracycline and take their growth and differentiation cues from their new environment.

In this study, ICSP cells differentiated into active neurons and other brain cell types with therapeutic payoff for an adult rat model of intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke – the rodents show improved behavioral performance. Although the long-term genomic stability of ICSP cells remains to be seen, no adverse effects have arisen over five months of observation. The team envisions that this ICSP approach will also extend to progenitor cells obtained from other organs, such as heart, pancreas, or muscle, potentially accelerating the use of stem cell therapies for a broad range of diseases.
[March 7, 2011, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Biology & Nature, ; PharmFacts E-News Update – 9 Mar 2011]

Second Chance at Life for Adult Stem Cell Transplant Patient
An update on the City of Hope’s 10,000th bone marrow adult stem cell transplant. The patient, now identified as 51-year-old William Fuller, was released from the hospital last week.

The father of three, a small-business owner, was born in Belize and came to the U.S. in 1982. When he had hi

s adult stem cell transplant on Jan. 13, 2011, his nurse wished him “Happy Birthday,” signaling the beginning of his new life.

According to Dr. Stephen J. Forman at City of Hope:

“Mr. Fuller is the poster child for what we do. There are thousands of other people like him who have been helped because a donor came forward to provide lifesaving stem cells that allowed us to do a transplant and hopefully cure the disease. Every patient who gets through a transplant here is the beneficiary of a lot of laboratory work and hard thinking that’s gone into trying to solve the problem – how to best cure the cancer in the safest way possible.”

Dr. Forman noted many patients view their adult stem cell donors as new members of their family, and often develop lifelong relationships. “They are ‘blood relatives,’” he said.

Mr. Fuller credited his sister, Karen Hyde, as being instrumental in arranging bone marrow drives in California, Florida and New York with the help of “Be the Match,” the national marrow donor program.

Adult stem cells continue to save thousands of lives every year. [16 Feb 11, David Prentice | Washington, DC |,

Genetic Abnormalities Discovered Associated With The Creation Of 'iPS' Stem Cells – 02 Mar 2011
Scientists at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, Canada, and at the University of Helsinki, Finland, have identified genetic abnormalities associated with reprogramming adult cells to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The findings give researchers new insights into the reprogramming process, and will help make future applications of stem cell creation and subsequent use safer. The study will be published in Nature.

The team showed that the reprogramming process for generating iPS cells (i.e., cells that can then be 'coaxed' to become a variety of cell types for use in regenerative medicine) is associated with inherent DNA damage. This damage is detected in the form of genetic rearrangements and 'copy number variations,' which are alterations of DNA in which a region of the genome is either deleted or amplified on certain chromosomes. The variability may either be inherited, or caused by de novo mutation.

"Our analysis shows that these genetic changes are a result of the reprogramming process itself, which raises the concern that the resultant cell lines are mutant or defective," said Dr. Nagy, a Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld. "These mutations could alter the properties of the stem cells, affecting their applications in studying degenerative conditions and screening for drugs to treat diseases. In the longer term, this discovery has important implications in the use of these cells for replacement therapies in regenerative medicine."

"Our study also highlights the need for rigorous characterization of generated iPS lines, especially since several groups are currently trying to enhance reprogramming efficiency," said Dr. Samer Hussein, a McEwen post-doctoral scientist who initiated these studies with Dr. Otonkoski, before completing them with Dr. Nagy. "For example, increasing the efficiency of reprogramming may actually reduce the quality of the cells in the long run, if genomic integrity is not accurately assessed."

The researchers used a molecular technique called single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis to study stem cell lines, and specifically to compare the number of copy number variations in both early and intermediate-stage human iPS cells with their respective parental, originating cells.

Drs. Nagy and Otonkoski and their teams found that iPS cells had more genetic abnormalities than their originating cells and embryonic stem cells. Interestingly, however, the simple process of growing the freshly generated iPS cells for a few weeks selected against the highly mutant cell lines, and thus most of the genetic abnormalities were eventually 'weeded out.'

However, some of the mutations are beneficial for the cells and they may survive during continued growth," said Dr. Otonkoski, Director and Senior Scientist at the Biomedicum Stem Cell Center.

Stem cells have been widely touted as a source of great hope for use in regenerative medicine, as well as in the development of new drugs to prevent and treat illnesses including Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury and macular degeneration. But techniques for generating these uniquely malleable cells have also opened a Pandora's Box of concerns and ethical quandaries. Health Canada, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Union consider stem cells to be drugs under federal legislation, and as such, subject to the same regulations.
"Our results suggest that whole genome analysis should be included as part of quality control of iPS cell lines to ensure that these cells are genetically normal after the reprogramming process, and then use them for disease studies and/or clinical applications," said Dr. Nagy.

"Rapid development of the technologies in genome-wide analyses will make this more feasible in the future," said Dr. Otonkoski. "In addition, there is a need to further explore if other methods might mitigate the amount of DNA damage generated during the generation of stem cells," both investigators agreed.

The present study received support from the Stem Cell Network of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (for Dr. Nagy), the McEwen Centre Fellowship program (for Dr. Hussein), and the ESTOOLS network funding from the 6th Framework Program of the European Union (for Dr. Otonkoski).

"Copy number variation and selection during reprogramming to pluripotency"
Hussein SM, Batada N, Vuoristo S, Ching RW, Autio R, Närvä E, Ng S, Sourour M, Hämäläinen R, Olsson C, Lundin K, Mikkola M, Trokovic R, Peitz M, Brüstle O, Bazett-Jones DP, Alitalo K, Lahesmaa R, Nagy A and Otonkoski T –  Nature, 3 March, 2011(online)
[2 Mar 2011,, Medical News Today



Other Stem Cell Research Studies

Concise Review: Bone Marrow for the Treatment of Spinal Cord Injury: Mechanisms and Clinical Applications (pages 169–178)Karina T. Wright, Wagih El Masri, Aheed Osman, Joy Chowdhury and William E. B. JohnsonArticle first published online: 24 FEB 2011 DOI: 10.1002/stem.570 STEM CELLS, Volume 29, Issue 2, February 2011, Online ISSN: 1549-4918, Print ISSN: 1066-5099 ——————————————————————————–
Osteoblasts Derived from Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells form Calcified Structures in Scaffolds Both In Vitro and In Vivo (pages 206–216)
Ganna Bilousova, Du Hyun Jun, Karen B. King, Stijn De Langhe, Wallace S. Chick, Enrique C. Torchia, Kelsey S. Chow, Dwight J. Klemm, Dennis R. Roop and Susan M. Majka
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2011
DOI: 10.1002/stem.566
STEM CELLS, Volume 29, Issue 2, February 2011, Online ISSN: 1549-4918, Print ISSN: 1066-5099

Human Placenta-Derived Adherent Cells Prevent Bone loss, Stimulate Bone formation, and Suppress Growth of Multiple Myeloma in Bone
(pages 263–273)
Xin Li, Wen Ling, Angela Pennisi, Yuping Wang, Sharmin Khan, Mohammad Heidaran, Ajai Pal, Xiaokui Zhang, Shuyang He, Andy Zeitlin, Stewart Abbot, Herbert Faleck, Robert Hariri, John D. Shaughnessy Jr, Frits van Rhee, Bijay Nair, Bart Barlogie, Joshua Epstein and Shmuel Yaccoby
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2011
DOI: 10.1002/stem.572
STEM CELLS, Volume 29, Issue 2, February 2011, Online ISSN: 1549-4918, Print ISSN: 1066-5099

Transplanted Stem Cell-Secreted Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Effects Poststroke Recovery, Inflammation, and Vascular Repair (pages 274–285)
Nobutaka Horie, Marta P. Pereira, Kuniyasu Niizuma, Guohua Sun, Hadar Keren-Gill, Angelo Encarnacion, Mehrdad Shamloo, Scott A. Hamilton, Kewen Jiang, Stephen Huhn, Theo D. Palmer, Tonya M. Bliss and Gary K. Steinberg
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2011
DOI: 10.1002/stem.584 ; STEM CELLS, Volume 29, Issue 2, February 2011, Online ISSN: 1549-4918, Print ISSN: 1066-5099

Locally Applied Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A Increases the Osteogenic Healing Capacity of Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cells by Promoting Osteogenic and Endothelial Differentiation (pages 286–296)
Björn Behr, Chad Tang, Günter Germann, Michael T. Longaker and Natalina Quarto
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2011
DOI: 10.1002/stem.581
STEM CELLS, Volume 29, Issue 2, February 2011, Online ISSN: 1549-4918, Print ISSN: 1066-5099
The Rho Kinase Pathway Regulates Mouse Adult Neural Precursor Cell Migration (pages 332–343)
Soo Yuen Leong, Clare H. Faux, Alisa Turbic, Kirsty J. Dixon and Ann M. Turnley
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2011
DOI: 10.1002/stem.577 ; STEM CELLS, Volume 29, Issue 2, February 2011, Online ISSN: 1549-4918, Print ISSN: 1066-5099

Adult Human Müller Glia Cells Are a Highly Efficient Source of Rod Photoreceptors (pages 344–356)
Serena G. Giannelli, Gian Carlo Demontis, Grazia Pertile, Paolo Rama and Vania Broccoli
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2011
DOI: 10.1002/stem.579 ; STEM CELLS, Volume 29, Issue 2, February 2011, Online ISSN: 1549-4918, Print ISSN: 1066-5099

Pretreatment of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells with Pioglitazone Improved Efficiency of Cardiomyogenic Transdifferentiation and Cardiac Function (pages 357–366)
Daisuke Shinmura, Ikuko Togashi, Shunichiro Miyoshi, Nobuhiro Nishiyama, Naoko Hida, Hiroko Tsuji, Hikaru Tsuruta, Kaoru Segawa, Yuiko Tsukada, Satoshi Ogawa and Akihiro Umezawa
Article first published online: 24 FEB 2011
DOI: 10.1002/stem.574 ; STEM CELLS, Volume 29, Issue 2, February 2011, Online ISSN: 1549-4918, Print ISSN: 1066-5099

Genetic Abnormalities Discovered Associated With The Creation Of 'iPS' Stem Cells
More Genetic Problems with Artificial Stem Cells

A Toronto-based research team has discovered “worrying” genetic flaws in artificially constructed “pluripotent” stem cells. Dr. Andras Nagy of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, with Dr. Timo Otonkoski from the Biomedicum Stem Cell Center at the University of Helsinki, have identified genetic abnormalities associated with reprogramming adult cells to become induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

In 2007, when Dr. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University announced that he had discovered how to make embryonic-like stem cells from ordinary adult, or “somatic” human skin cells, the media as well as much of the scientific world hailed it as the discovery that would solve the ethical crisis surrounding stem cell research. But since then, first ethicists, and later other stem cell researchers have warned that there are ongoing problems with the new iPS cells that may strictly limit their usefulness.

The authors of the new research, published this week in the journal Nature, found that the DNA of the cells were shown to be rearranged and to have “copy number variations,” which means that the number of chromosomes in a region of the genome is either reduced or increased.

“The mechanisms underlying the low efficiency of reprogramming somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are poorly understood,” write the authors.

The study showed that “significantly more [copy number variations] are present in early-passage human iPS cells than intermediate passage human iPS cells, fibroblasts or human ES cells.”

A complete analysis of the genome should be included in quality control of iPS cells to avoid potential problems, the research team said. “There is a clear need to study whether the reprogramming process itself compromises genomic integrity and, through this, the efficiency of iPS cell establishment.”

“Our analysis shows that these genetic changes are a result of the reprogramming process itself, which raises the concern that the resultant cell lines are mutant or defective,” said Dr. Nagy.

In January it was reported that another team of researchers had discovered potentially serious genetic abnormalities in iPS cells.

The team, led by stem cell scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and The Scripps Research Institute, found that the same genetic abnormalities that occur in human embryonic stem cell lines are found in induced pluripotent stem cell (IPSC) lines.

“Since genetic aberrations are often associated with cancers, it is vital that cell lines destined for clinical use are free from cancer-associated genomic alterations,” said senior author Jeanne F. Loring, PhD, professor and Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute.

Stem cell researchers continue to work to find a method to create cells that will be either “pluripotent,” able to be changed into many of the body’s tissue types, or “totipotent.” Totipotent cells are those that can either be turned into any cell type in the body, or develop into a separate organism.

While embryonic stem cells, those taken from an early-stage human embryo, can be changed into a variety of different tissue types, they present a number of medical drawbacks – in addition to the major ethical issues – for treatment of patients, including immune system rejection. At the same time, “adult” or somatic stem cells have been highly successful in experimental treatments of a wide variety of illnesses and injuries, including Parkinson’s disease and spinal cord injuries.   [TORONTO, March 7, 2011, Hilary White,,





Incredible ‘Skin Gun’ Heals Severe Burns in Days

It’s being called the “skin gun,” and if it takes off it could revolutionize how burn victims are treated.

The invention, which look

s and acts more like an airbrush than a gun, uses a patient’s own stem cells (taken from healthy skin – ADULT STEM CELLS), combines them in a solution in the gun, and then sprays them on the burned area.

In the small number of patients who have been treated, the results have been nothing short of miraculous: skin that might normally take weeks or months to heal rejuvenates in days. And to the naked eye, signs of the burn are barely visible.

Over 12 patients have so far been successfully treated with the 'skin gun'.

Developed by Dr. Jörg C. Gerlach, National Geographic Channel has featured the skin gun on recent episodes of “Explorer”.

Watch the Video segment: 3:28 minute video clip of 'skin gun' success —

[NOTE: Contains graphic images of second-degree burns that will undoubtedly make some uneasy. It's important to note, however, that the burns shown are not those of Matt, the man featured — they are used as representations of what his burns might have looked like. Then, you see the actual healed skin of police officer Matt.]

Imagine the implications if we could regenerate damaged, aging or diseased body parts grown from our own cells custom made, and genetically indistinguishable from our own.

Could it eliminate the death sentence for profound birth defects, the need for prosthetics and any shortage of transplant organs?

EXPLORER delves into the science of tissue engineering and shows how scientists are beginning to harness the body's natural powers to grow skin, muscle, body parts and vital organs, even hearts…

Read more:
[February 3, 2011,  Jonathon M. Seidl, ]




Amazing "Skin Gun" Heals Burn Wounds Using Victims' Adult Stem Cells
…Until now, Scientists usually treat burns using skin grafts, which involve taking skin sections from uninjured parts of the patient's body, or growing sheets of skin artificially, and then grafting them over the burn. These grafts can take several weeks or even months to heal, and during this period of recover, patients are prone to infections and blisters, which can often be painful and even damage the skin.

This new process of using a "skin gun" takes only an hour and a half in total, a biopsy is taken from the patient's undamaged skin and then healthy stem cells are isolated from the biopsy and a solution containing the cells is sprayed on the burn. After treatment the wound heals in just days, when it would have taken weeks to heal using traditional treatments.

Dr Gerlach said patients had been treated at the Berlin Burn Center and they had regrown skin over a burned ear or an entire face in only a few days. Dr Gerlach's team has been instrumental in developing the technique using sprayed suspensions of adult stem cells to treat surface wounds and burns.  [11 Feb 2011, ,]




How Nasal Stem Cells Might Prevent Childhood Deafness

Australian scientists have shown for the first time in mice that nasal stem cells injected into the inner ear have the potential to reverse or restore hearing during early onset sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when hearing cells in the cochlea lose their function. Frequently inherited, and usually starting during infancy and early childhood, the condition can slow a child's development and lead to speech and language problems.

Drs Jeremy Sullivan, Sonali Pandit and Sharon Oleskevich from Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research, found that stem cells appear to release ‘factors’, or chemical substances, that help preserve the function of cochlear hearing cells, without the stem cells becoming part of the tissue of the inner ear. Their findings are published in STEM CELLS, now online [ — see abstract below]

“We are exploring the potential of stem cells to prevent or restore hearing loss in people,” said project leader Dr Sharon Oleskevich.

“The mice we are using have a very similar form of childhood deafness to their human counterparts – except, of course that mouse years are shorter. So a mouse will tend to lose their hearing within 3 months, where a person might take 8 years.”

“We are encouraged by our initial findings, because all the mice injected with stem cells showed improved hearing in comparison with those given a sham injection. Roughly half of the mice did very well indeed, although it is important to note that hearing was not completely restored to normal hearing levels.”

Adult human nasal stem cells were used in the procedure, because they are plentiful, easy to obtain and unspecialised (so have the ability to self-renew for long periods, as well as differentiate into cells with a variety of functions).

The same group of scientists has shown in previous publications that stem cells can also be used to improve hearing in noise-induced hearing loss – a condition that affects both young and older people.

It has taken 5 years to reach the current stage of research, and scientists anticipate that it will take a further decade at least for the findings to benefit people.

This research was supported by the Fairfax Foundation and the Australian Deafness Research Foundation. We received much help from ear surgeons at St. Vincent's Hospital, in particular Dr John Tonkin and Professor Paul Fagan. Also from Professor Alan Mackay-Sim, Director of the National Adult Stem Cell Research Centre at Griffith University in Brisbane, who supplied the stem cells used in the project.
[11 Feb 2011, Garvan Institute, ; 11 Feb 2011, In Sciences, ; PharmFacts E-News Update — 14 Feb 2011 ]

Transplantation of exogenous stem cells has been proposed as a treatment to prevent or reverse sensorineural hearing loss. Here, we investigate the effects of transplantation of adult human olfactory mucosa-derived stem cells on auditory function in A/J mice, a strain exhibiting early-onset progressive sensorineural hearing loss. Recent evidence indicates these stem cells exhibit multipotency in transplantation settings and may represent a subtype of mesenchymal stem cell. Olfactory stem cells were injected into the cochleae of A/J mice via a lateral wall cochleostomy during the time period in which hearing loss first becomes apparent. Changes in auditory function were assessed one month after t

ransplantation and compared against animals that received sham injections. Hearing threshold levels in stem cell-transplanted mice were found to be significantly lower than those of sham-injected mice (P<0.05) for both click and pure tone stimuli. Transplanted cells survived within the perilymphatic compartments but did not integrate into cochlear tissues. These results indicate that transplantation of adult human olfactory mucosa-derived stem cells can help preserve auditory function during early-onset progressive sensorineural hearing loss.





Babies Can Be Treated With Adult Stem Cells, Even in the Womb
Two recent stories are exciting about the possibility of treating young children, even in the womb, with adult stem cells.  One study shows that cardiac adult stem cells can be isolated from young children with heart problems, even as young as one day old.

The researchers found that a very small sample of heart tissue contained ample adult stem cells that could be grown in culture, turned into various types of heart cells, and repair damaged hearts in a lab animal model.  Dr. Sunjay Kaushal, senior author on the study in the journal Circulation, said “The potential of cardiac stem cell therapy for children is truly exciting.”
Another recent report shows the potential of extending adult stem cell treatments into the womb.  Previous attempts at treating unborn children have been largely unsuccessful, but scientists at the University of California-San Francisco have discovered the key to such treatments–use the mother’s adult stem cells to treat the unborn child.

Using a mouse model, they found that mom’s immune system caused the rejection even of stem cells matched to the unborn baby, but using cells matched to the mother, or using the mother’s adult stem cells, allowed a match. 

Dr. Amar Nijagal, lead author of the study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, said that now they can “really think big” in terms of in-the-womb adult stem cell treatments for “everything from neurological disorders to muscular disorders before birth.”
[1 Feb 2011, David Prentice | Washington, DC |,



Artificially Produced Stem Cells May ‘Hold On’ to Genetic Past

Are the new stem cell technologies too good to be true?

New research suggests this may be the case.Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California say they have found that induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells may retain the genetic memory of their previous life, which could restrict the possible uses of such cells in therapy.

The study, published in this week’s online edition of the journal Nature, found significant differences between the reprogrammed iPS cells and true pluripotent embryonic stem cells.

In creating iPS cells, scientists take a mature cell, one that has already differentiated into a particular type of tissue, such as skin, and “unzip” it, turning off the genes that command it to be that particular type of cell. The hope is that this will create a cell that is as malleable as an embryonic stem cell, and can therefore be manipulated to become any type of tissue.

The researchers, however, found that the cells’ epigenomes – chemical markers attached to DNA that regulate the way genes are turned on and off – created large sections of difference between the iPS cells and embryonic pluripotent cells.

Some of the iPS epigenomes had not reverted to the pluripotent state, but retained the “epigenetic memory” of their original state.

When the researchers used the iPS cells to create mature cells in the lab, this memory persisted.

“This study definitively demonstrates that there are differences between the two cell types,” said Joseph Wu, a stem cell biologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine who was not involved in the research.

The team’s leader, Joseph Ecker, said the study examined 1.2 billion places in each genome where such chemical markers exist, making the study unusually thorough.

“Up to this point, people were looking through a keyhole,” he said. “We’re opening up the door.”

Wu said that this does not mean that iPS cells cannot be used in regenerative medicine. He said that scientists might find ways to harness the epigenetic memory to help treat disease. He gave the example of iPS cells created from heart cells that retain some of their cardiac characteristics.

“We need to do more research to see what exactly this means,” he said

In 2006, Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University made headlines around the world when he announced the creation of iPS cells created from adult tissue that had the same properties as embryonic stem cells. The field of regenerative medicine has taken up iPS research as an ethical alternative to embryo research, which results in the deaths of millions of embryonic human beings.

The hope was that iPS cells would allow doctors to regenerate damaged tissue with new tissue that was a genetic match to the patient. But some are predicting that this latest discovery in how iPS cells work will be a set-back in the efforts to use them in regenerative medicine.

Kyoto University, however, is going forward and has announced that it has obtained the exclusive patent rights to the iPS technology.
[3 Feb 2011, Hilary White, ROME,,






Mitochondrial DNA Integrity Is Essential For Mitochondrial Maturation During Differentiation of Neural Stem Cells (pages 2195–2204)
Wei Wang, Pia Osenbroch, Ragnhild Skinnes, Ying Esbensen, Magnar Bjørås and Lars Eide
Article first published online: 30 DEC 2010
DOI: 10.1002/stem.542

Adult Stem Cells Helping Women With Breast Reconstruction

An announcement recently from Japanese universities that they are establishing an institute to use adult stem cells for breast reconstruction is wonderful news, recognizing the current uses as well as future potential of adult stem cells for patients.

The most common methods of breast reconstruction are silicon injections and fat implants, which pose risks of infection as well as long-term maintenance. The proposal is to use adult stem cells from fat tissue (sometimes termed adipose-derived stem cells) of the patient to re-grow breast tissue.

There is already an ongoing approved clinical tri

al in Europe for breast cancer patients to use adipose-derived stem cells for breast reconstruction, and interim results have been very promising.

Doctors in Australia and in the U.K. had also previously announced clinical trials for the adult stem cell technique.

While it might sound humorous, adult stem cells from liposuctioned fat are a very useful source of stem cells for reconstructive surgery. They’ve already been used in other trials as well, but that’s for another story.

Growing new breast tissue from adult stem cells is not so far-fetched. In 2006, two groups showed that they could isolate mouse mammary gland stem cells, and regenerate an entire mammary gland from a single adult stem cell. (In the interests of equal time, another group showed in 2008 in mice the generation of a prostate from a single adult stem cell.) Of course, there are those who consider cosmetic breast augmentation the more significant application…

Adult stem cells continue to prove their superior capabilities for tissue repair in patients.
[27Jan11, David Prentice Ph.D. | Washington, DC |,





Obama Admin OKs Another Human Embryonic Stem Cell Trial
The Obama administration has approved an application submitted by cloning company Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) to move ahead with a trial with patients receiving injections of embryonic stem cells.

Although embryonic stem cell use in animals faces immune system rejection issues and cause tumors, the Food and Drug Administration cleared ACT to start its second try with derivatives of embryonic stem cells. ACT scientists applied in 2009 to carry out a clinical trial on human patients suffering from macular degeneration and they expect the trial to begin soon now that it has been approved…

Dr. David Prentice, a former biology professor at Indiana State University who is now a fellow with the Family Research Council, tells he believes the trial will put people at risk because the safety of the use of embryonic stem cells has not been proven.

“ACT’s green light by the FDA for this experiment puts more patients in danger,” he said today. “There is still a great concern even among many embryonic stem cell scientists that the headlong rush by the Obama administration to promote embryonic stem cell trials is preliminary and risky.”

“A major concern for safety is the distinct possibility of tumor formation by embryonic stem cells, since their primary feature is unlimited growth,” he explained. “And since embryonic stem cells are derived from the destruction of young human embryos, the trial relies on cannibalizing young lives.  We can only hope that ACT has good insurance.”

Because of the concerns with using embryonic stem cells in animals, ACT scientists are not technically using them but have substituted a derivative that involves changing the embryonic stem cell into an adult stem cell/progenitor, but Prentice says even those could cause similar problems.

Adult stem cells do not present the immune system and tumor problems nor are they unethical because they are obtained without the destruction of human life as is the case with ESCR. The adult variety has already helped dozens of patients facing a myriad of diseases or medical conditions…
Full story at — ; Ertelt, Washington, DC,, 1/3/11]

Time To End Stem Cell Institute
Hubris: No better word describes the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine's plan to persuade Californians to borrow another $3 billion to keep it in business funding stem cell research.

The CIRM was created in 2004 in the wake of President George W. Bush's order restricting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Knowing that many Californians perceived themselves as "the resistance" to everything Bush, the big wallets behind Proposition 71 successfully surfed a tsunami of hype, telling voters that CIRM-funded research would soon liberate disabled children from their wheelchairs while returning abundant profits to the state from licensing fees and reduced medical costs.

The CIRM hasn't come close to fulfilling those promises. Here's why California voters should reject the bond issue and shut the agency down in 2014:

No major research breakthroughs: The CIRM was created primarily to fund human cloning for research and embryonic stem cell research. So far, cloning has failed and embryonic stem cell cures, if they ever come, are a very long way off. (Geron Corp. is conducting a small safety trial for spinal cord injury with an embryonic stem-cell product. The CIRM provided funds to a UC Irvine scientist involved in its development.)

Notably, the CIRM played no part in the biggest stem cell breakthroughs of the last decade. In 2007, the entire field was transformed with the invention of induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonic-like stem cells made from ordinary cells such as skin. These cells are already being used in the kind of disease-specific research that Proposition 71 advocates said would require cloning. Meanwhile, adult stem cells are treating myriad afflictions in human trials. Indeed, non-embryonic methods are proving so successful that the CIRM – perhaps desperate to show cures from its spending – recently started funding these fields.

Mismanagement and conflicts of interest: The CIRM's funding judgments have also been called into question. Nearly $300 million, for example, went to help pay for plush research facilities – a questionable use of taxpayers' borrowed money. Conflicts of interest have also abounded, leading the Little Hoover Commission to call the CIRM's funding board an "insiders' club."

Nor has the CIRM been frugal in its own shop. Even though California is beyond broke, the CIRM pays top salaries. Its chief makes just under $500,000 a year, more than the president of the United States and twice as much as the governor of California. Meanwhile, Art Torres, a board member and former chairman of the California Democratic Party, works four days a week – for a whopping $225,000 a year.

California is impecunious: California simply can't afford the CIRM. The state projects a budget deficit of $28 billion over the next 18 months – after overcoming another $19 billion deficit just a few months ago. Huge cuts of essential state services are pending in education, health care and other areas. Meanwhile, the state's bond debt exceeds $90 billion – and counting.

Despite all this, like the man-eating plant in "Little Shop of Horrors," the CIRM screams, "I want more!" If Californians vote yes a second time, it will prove the truth of P.T. Barnum's old maxim about a sucker being born every minute.

Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center on Human Exceptionalism. He is also a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture.
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[27 Dec 2010, Wesley Smith, ; page A – 8 of the San Francisco Chronicle]




Adult Fat Cell-Derived Stem Cells Useful in Tissue Reconstruction

Adipose-derived stem cells maintain their "stemness" and could be useful for cell-based therapies. A team of researchers from several institutions in Italy isolated and characterized adult fat cell-derived stem cells from patients undergoing lipoaspiration (surgical removal of fat deposits) in order to investigate the ability of the fat cells to maintain their stem cell characteristics in in vitro cultures to the point where once transplanted they could aid in tissue regeneration.

According to the study's corresponding authors Dr. Stefami Bucher of the San Gallicano Institute (Rome) and Dr. Rita Falcioni of the Regina Elena Cancer Institute (Rome), adipose tissues share several biological properties with bone marrow, they can be found in abundance, they can be obtained from patients undergoing noninvasive lipoaspirate procedures, and they have the potential to be useful in a range of therapeutic applications.

"The use of lipoaspirate as filling material is a powerful technique for tissue repair in plastic surgery," said Dr. Falcioni. "Increasingly, it is used in oncology to repair tissue damaged by surgical treatments, such as mastectomy. The use of purified adipose-derived stem cells might improve this surgical procedure by shortening the time to achieve esthetic results and thereby improving patient quality of life."

The researchers described adipose tissues as "highly specialized connective tissues" that help provide the body with an energy source, yet little research has investigated the transplant potential of adipose-derived stem cells.

"We strongly suggest that the adipose-derived stem cells we purified in our study could be applied in the near future for cell therapy using the cell-assisted lipotransfer technique." [27 Dec 2010, Rx PG News, By Cell Transplantation Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, ; PharmFacts E-News Update — 30 Dec 2010]