Japanese Team May Have Found The "Perfect" Stem Cell (7/07)

Since its publication in the journals Nature and Stem Cell on June 7, a report that Japanese researchers have produced embryo-like stem cells from the somatic (body) cells of mice has made headlines around the world and prompted speculation that the scientific community's brief obsession with cloning experiments for stem cell research is about to end…   [this has caused a huge shake-up in the stem cell research world, as more documentation forced acceptance in November 2007]    …Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University…told the London Times in an interview, "Neither eggs nor embryos are necessary. I've never worked with either." Yamanaka was in Britain presenting his findings to a conference on stem cell research at the University of Manchester.   Yamanaka's experiments involved a mouse skin cell into which was introduced four proteins which "reprogram" the cell's nuclear DNA making it pluripotent – having the same qualities as a stem cell taken from a very early-stage embryo.   Stem cells are those the body produces to replace and renew tissues. As such, they are sought by researchers for medical applications in curing diseases and injuries. Adult stem cells are now commonly used in some forms of cancer treatment and have seen success in experimental treatments of Parkinson's disease and diabetes, among others.   Most researchers in stem cells agree that stem cells found in various parts of the body are, to greater or lesser degrees, limited in the different types of tissue they can produce. The pressure to obtain embryonic stem cells derives from their so-called "pluripotency," the characteristic of the mass of cells found inside the embryo in the...

Adult Stem Cell Pluripotency (update)

From the Family Research Council see www.stemcellresearch.org This page of research studies strictly details those projects published in peer-reviewed journals that are studying the PLURIPOTENCY of adult stem cells, that is, the ability of NON-embryonic stem cells to change into other types of tissue cells. In the past, this ability was only attributed to embryonic stem cells (a human embryo is destroyed to produce these stem cells). MYTH: Adult stem cells are not as versatile as embryonic stem cells. FACT: Numerous studies now demonstrate that some adult stem cells are as flexible as embryonic stem cells: 1. German scientists have shown that stem cells from adult mouse testis show embryonic stem cell-like properties, expressing genes for pluripotency (Oct-4, nanog) and forming tissues from the 3 representative tissue types of the body. An American company has announced that they can isolate such cells from mouse and adult humans. Guan K et al., Pluripotency of spermatogonial stem cells from adult mouse testis, Nature 440, 1199-1203, 27 April 2006; Kanatsu-Shinohara M & Shinohara T, The germ of pluripotency, Nature Biotechnology 24, 663-664, June 2006; Cyranoski D, Stem cells from testes: could it work?, Nature 440, 586-587, March 30, 2006. 2. Researchers in Kansas demonstrated that stem cells from the umbilical cord express pluripotency genes Oct-4, Sox-2, and nanog and show properties of “primitive pluripotent stem cells.” Carlin R et al., Expression of early transcription factors Oct-4, Sox-2 and Nanog by procine umbilical cord (PUC) matrix cells, Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 4:8, doi:10.1186/1477-7827-4-8, 6 February 2006. 3. Scientists at the University of Minnesota Medical School have verified that umbilical cord blood stem cells...

Stem Cell Clarity (Stevens, 7/04)

The following points highlight key findings of scientific studies funded with tens of millions of private and federal dollars revealed about embryonic stem cells since the President’s policy was put in place on August 9, 2001… 1) Human embryonic stem cell lines have proven difficult to develop and maintain.1-42) Pure embryonic stem cell cultures are difficult to obtain. 5, 63) Embryonic stem cells are unstable and mutate in culture. 7, 84) Differentiation protocols for many cell types have not been developed. 95) Differentiated Cell types often act abnormally. 10-126) When embryonic-derived cells have been placed in animals, cancerous tumors have formed. 13, 147) To address the problem of immune rejection, researchers have proposed cloning individual patients to obtain compatible embryonic stem cells. 15-178) Besides the ethical inadmissibility of human cloning, some researchers have questioned whether cloning will truly solve the rejection problem. Cells taken from cloned human beings are not normal. Women’s groups and others have rightly condemned the commercialization of women required to gain the millions of human eggs needed for such cloning. 18, 199) Even if each of these problems were somehow solved, at a cost of over $200,000 per patient, only the very wealthy could afford the procedure. Many physicians and patients also would reject the therapy on moral grounds. 20, 21 Due to these and other hurdles, the earliest that supporters of embryonic stem cell research proponents can possibly hope for clinical applications from embryonic stem cells is 10-15 years away—if ever. As more and more problems with embryonic stem cells are uncovered through research, some scientists are now predicting that we won’t see any...

International Adult Stem Cell 'Retraining' Project Starts in England (5/04)

An exciting research project to utilize the body’s own adult stem cells to regenerate areas of tissue damage is uniting scientists in Birmingham, London and Ontario, Canada. The University of Birmingham is leading a three year study with long term aims of helping stroke, Parkinsons and diabetes patients. £401,772 funding has been granted by the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council and the Medical Research Council. Adult stem cell research offers enormous potential for treating a host of diseases for which there are no cures, by replacing damaged cells… How Adult Stem Cells Saved My Life: A Personal View of the Stem Cell Debate:  http://www.frc.org/index.cfm?i=PV04G02&f=WU04G18&t=e For more information about stem cells, click here. Certain types of adult stem cells seem to have the ability to differentiate into a number of different cell types, given the right conditions.  If this differentiation of adult stem cells can be controlled in the laboratory, these cells may become the basis of therapies for many serious common diseases.  This study sets out to harvest stem cells from brain and pancreas, with the hope of ‘retraining’ them for use in other parts of the body.  Stem cells from these two tissues are being focused on as they share a lineage and have similar characteristics.  Since it is easier to harvest stem cells from the pancreas than the brain, this project will evaluate whether adult stem cell transfer between the organs is a feasible approach for brain repair. Using the body’s own stem cells should eliminate problems of cell rejection, and moves on from controversial embryonic stem cell use.  Trial leader Ann Logan, Professor of Molecular...