This is great, but adult stem cells are still the best chance for someone with a debilitating or deadly disease to get a therapeutically beneficial treatment NOW! - DG
by Steven Ertelt -LifeNews.com Editor -February 25, 2009
Los Angeles, CA (LifeNews.com) -- One of the alternatives to the use of embryonic stem cells has made another advance and, this time, induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, have yielded nerve cells. Researchers made a type of nerve cells from the iPS cells, which are embryonic-like cells reverted from their adult state.
The cells are hailed by pro-life groups as an ethical alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells, which can only be obtained by destroying human life.
A team at the University of California Los Angeles was able to make motor neurons out of the induced pluripotent stem cells and the scientists hope to make cells tailored to specific diseases for therapy.
BY converting the iPS cells into motor neurone cells, scientists may be able to better treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.
"IPS-derived cells appeared to follow a normal developmental progression associated with motor neuron formation," they wrote in the journal Stem Cells.
The researchers added that the new cells they created look just like embryonic stem cells, yet they didn't have to destroy days-old human embryos, or unique human beings, to get them.
The researchers at UCLA plan to attach the new cells to muscle cells to determine if they will contract and they hope to eventually be able to take a skin cell sample from a patient to generate a tissue transplant or build a stem cell bank for other patients.
Adult stem cells have also been helpful in dealing with ALS.
Last year, a unique pilot study established a safe pathway for using bone-marrow stem cells to slow down and potentially treat Lou Gehrig's disease.
Dr. Neil Cashman, professor of neurology at the University of British Columbia and director of the ALS program at Vancouver Coastal Health and VCH Research Institute, headed the study.
He published the results in the medical journal Muscle & Nerve and he and his colleagues tested the use of a growth factor stimulant in ALS patients and found that bone-marrow stem cells became activated with no adverse effects to patients.
“Our idea was to use a growth factor stimulant to increase the number of circulating stem cells from within the body’s bone marrow where they would have the potential to travel to the site of injury and begin repair, slowing down the progression of ALS,” he said.
via Embryonic Stem Cell Alternative Has Another Advance, IPS Cells Yield Nerve Cells
Treatments for over 73 Diseases
February 26, 2009
Adult stem cell research has produced treatments for 73 different conditions, while embryonic stem cell research has not produced a single therapy or helped a single patient. But those facts were conveniently omitted from a recent column advocating increased taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research ("Stem cell opportunity," Commentary, Feb. 20).
The column also neglected to mention the biggest advance in stem cell research in the last decade - the creation of induced pluripotent stem cells.
That development allows researchers to reprogram adult stem cells to behave like embryonic stem cells without destroying human embryos. It was hailed by the journal Science as the scientific breakthrough of 2008 and trumpeted on a recent Time magazine cover.
Maryland taxpayers have dedicated $36 million to stem cell research in the last two years. But only projects involving adult stem cell research have produced therapies that are actually treating patients.
Maybe there's a reason venture capitalists are wary to invest private dollars in embryonic stem cell research: It doesn't work.
Our elected officials should follow their lead, and use shrinking state taxpayer dollars prudently by funding proven, ethical research that is now treating patients: adult stem cell research, including work with induced pluripotent stem cells. Nancy E. PaltellBaltimore
via Adult stem cells provide real cures -- baltimoresun.com
Posted : Wed, 25 Feb 2009 13:25:05 GMT
Author : Fate Therapeutics, Inc.
Category : Press Release
LA JOLLA, Calif. & CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - (Business Wire) Fate Therapeutics, Inc. announced today that Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, M.D., founding member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and professor in the Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has joined the Company’s internationally recognized team of scientific founders dedicated to understanding stem cell biology in human physiology and disease.
Fate Therapeutics is interrogating stem cell biology to develop therapeutics based on modulating cell fate and to enable a new drug discovery paradigm
with the Company’s proprietary induced-pluripotent stem (iPS) cell technology. The Company’s first therapeutic candidate is scheduled to enter clinical trials in early 2009 in hematopoietic reconstitution.
Fate Therapeutics is a private biotech company headquartered in La Jolla, CA.
via Pioneering Stem Cell Biologist Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch, M.D., Joins Founding Scientific Team of Fate Therapeutics
By injecting stem cells directly into the brain, scientists have successfully reversed neural birth defects in mice whose mothers were given heroin during pregnancy. Even though most of the transplanted cells did not survive, they induced the brain's own cells to carry out extensive repairs.
Transplanted stem cells have previously shown promise in reversing brain damage caused by strokes, as well as by neurological diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Huntington's. But their use in treating birth defects is relatively new. In recent years, a handful of research teams have been developing stem-cell-based therapies for rodents with real or simulated birth defects in the brain.
Joseph Yanai, director of the Ross Laboratory for Studies in Neural Birth Defects at the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, in Jerusalem, says that stem-cell therapies are ideal for treating birth defects where the mechanism of damage is multifaceted and poorly understood. "If you use neural stem cells," says Yanai, "they are your little doctors. They're looking for the defect, they're diagnosing it, and they're differentiating into what's needed to repair the defect. They are doing my job, in a way."
Yanai and his colleagues began with mice that had been exposed to heroin in the womb. These mice suffer from learning deficits; when placed in a tank of murky water, for instance, they take longer than normal mice to find their way back to a submerged platform. And in their hippocampus--an area of the brain associated with memory and navigation--critical biochemical pathways are disrupted, and fewer new cells are produced.
All of those problems are swiftly resolved when the researchers inject neural stem cells derived from embryonic mice into the brains of the heroin-exposed animals. When swimming, the treated mice caught up with their normal counterparts, and their cellular and biochemical deficits disappeared. Yanai announced these findings in 2007 and 2008.
Such dramatic results were surprising, considering that just a fraction of a percent of the transplanted stem cells survived inside the mice's brains. But they are consistent with an emerging consensus of how adult stem cells perform their many functions through so-called bystander or chaperone effects. Beyond simply generating replacements for damaged cells, stem cells seem to produce signals that spur other cells to carry out normal organ maintenance and initiate damage control.
"The chaperone effect is an important aspect of stem-cell biology that's simply been under-recognized," says Evan Snyder, who directs the Stem Cell Research Center at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, in California, and whose research group coined the term in 2002. "That actually may be the low-hanging fruit in the stem-cell field--taking advantage of this, and not the cell-replacement aspect that we always thought would be the key to stem-cell biology in regenerative medicine."
Cesar Borlongan, a professor and vice chairman for research in the department of neurosurgery at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, uses a different model to explore the use of stem-cell treatment for brain-damaged infants. By deliberately restricting blood and oxygen flow to the brains of newborn rats, he and his colleagues simulate the effects of an infant stroke--a devastating event that causes untreatable brain injury in newborn humans.
Australian First For Melbourne Stem Cell Scientists - iPSC
australia - kangaroo
February 1, 2009 — Melbourne scientists have created Australia's first induced pluripotent stem cell lines. Scientists have derived the cells from skin cells, and reprogrammed them to behave as (if they had the pluripotent capability also found in) embryonic stem cells; a ... > full story
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