Generating new cardiac muscle from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and/or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) could fulfill the demand for therapeutic applications and drug testing. The production of a similar population of these cells remains a major limitation, but in a study just published in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, researchers now believe they have found a way to do this.
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Embargo Policy: Articles for STEM CELLS and STEM CELLS Translational Medicine are embargoed for release until 9 a.m. Eastern U.S. time on the day the article is posted online. This policy applies to members of the media, authors, institutions' public information officers, and the public. Authors may not discuss their work with the media until 1 week before the mailing date or 1 week before online posting of the article, whichever is earlier, and must ensure that the media representatives agree to abide by the embargo policy. STEM CELLS Translational Medicine may refuse to publish a manuscript, despite acceptance for publication, if it has been prematurely released to the press.
A new study appearing in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM) demonstrates the potential of a subset of stem cell called CD34+ in treating hard to heal bone fractures.
While most patients recover from broken bones with little or no complication, up to 10 percent experience fractures that won’t heal. This can lead to a number of debilitating side effects, from infection to bone loss, and it can require extensive treatment involving multiple operations and prolonged hospitalization as well as long-term disability.
A team of researchers from Gifu Pharmaceutical University and Gifu University in Japan has published results demonstrating that a type of protein found in stem cells taken from adipose (fat) tissue can reverse and prevent age-related, light-induced retinal damage in a mouse model, offering hope for those faced with permanent vision loss.
The research, published in the latest issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine, has determined that a single injection of adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) reduced the retinal damage induced by light exposure in mice. Also, the study found that adipose-derived stem cells in conditioned medium inhibited the retinal damage by hydrogen peroxide and visible light both in the medium and in live mice.
A stem cell therapy previously shown to reduce inflammation in the critical time window after traumatic brain injury also promotes lasting cognitive improvement, according to a pre-clinical study reported in the current issue of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine.
Cellular damage in the brain after traumatic injury can cause severe, ongoing neurological impairment and inflammation. Few pharmaceutical options exist to treat the problem. About half of patients with severe head injuries need surgery to remove or repair ruptured blood vessels or bruised brain tissue.
Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), show great promise in regenerative medicine due to their ability to be “coaxed” into becoming different specific types of cells. These cells can then go on to help the body heal itself by replacing or repairing damaged or dead cells.
The team, from the University of Louisville’s Cardiovascular Innovation Institute (Louisville, Ky.), had previously shown in rat studies that stem cell treatment immediately following an attack aided recovery by improving blood flow in the smallest vessels of the heart. This time the goal was to determine if the treatment was still effective if applied later in time.
“We also were seeking a more efficient delivery method for the stem cells by utilizing the heart patch model. Most studies employing an injection of stem cells encounter swift cell death or cell washout from the target tissue,” said Amanda LeBlanc, Ph.D., who led the investigation along with Stuart Williams, Ph.D., the institute’s executive and scientific director.
MS is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by inflammation and scar-like lesions throughout the central nervous system (CNS). There is no cure and no treatment eases the severe forms of MS. But previous studies on animals have shown that transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) holds promise as a therapy for all forms of MS. The MSCs migrate to areas of damage, release trophic (cell growth) factors and exert neuroprotective and immunomodulatory effects to inhibit T cell proliferation.
MS-related clinical trials have all confirmed the safety of autologous MSC therapy. However what is unclear is whether MSCs derived from older donors have the same therapeutic potential as those from younger ones.
Numerous stem cell-based therapies are currently under investigation, including an FDA-approved clinical trial focused on employing neural stem cells (NSCs) in delivering drugs targeting invasive brain tumors. “The ability to monitor the time course, migration and distribution of stem cells following transplantation into these patients would provide critical information for optimizing treatment regimens,” Dr. Moats said. “However, no effective cell-tracking methodology had yet garnered clinical acceptance.”
In an article featured in the latest issue of STEM CELLS, a research group from Stanford University describes a novel regimen for quashing this immunologic barrier — a short-course treatment with two costimlation-adhesion blockade agents, allowing engraftment of transplanted differentiated stem cells and their prolonged survival in tissue.
However, a new study released today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine indicates that endothelial precursor cells, which are found in the bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, and as very rare cells in peripheral blood, could make a significant difference for these patients’ recovery — even in the later stages of stroke. In animal studies, the treatment minimized the initial brain injury and helped repair the stroke damage.